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Volume 26 No. 178
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Some In NFL Circles Still Question Impact Of New Replay Rules

The NFL season kicks off tonight with Packers-Bears, and "one aspect of the game" -- reviews of pass interference plays -- "unquestionably is in flux and figures to be for a while," according to Sam Farmer of the L.A. TIMES. Coaches, players, officials and fans are "still adjusting" to the "controversial new rule that might or might not clarify the sport's most debated infraction." Whereas some people "applaud the use of technology to assist in a call that's often highly nuanced, others see it as unnecessary meddling by the league that threatens to slow the game to a crawl" (L.A. TIMES, 9/5).

GOING UNDER THE HOOD: SI.com's Jacob Feldman noted while other sports "build increasingly complex review systems," the NFL so far has "passed on even installing its own field cameras, citing costs and complexity." Assistant coaches "tasked with telling their bosses whether to challenge a given call are making that decision based off a TV broadcast airing in their booth." Replay officials "rely on the same feed," meaning TV producers have "even more power" during games. NBC "SNF" Exec Producer Fred Gaudelli and ESPN VP/Production & "MNF" Producer Jay Rothman both said that they had "met with multiple younger coaches this offseason to explain their camera arrangements." Gaudelli has "changed his production philosophy" in recent years, realizing he needs to "show a replay as soon as possible" after a play's completion (SI.com, 9/4).