Starting this year, centralized replay in the Art McNally Game Day Center can weigh in on all potential game ejections. The rule is an expansion to a rule last year that made certain ejection situations reviewable.
Last year, the rule called for centralized replay to step in and review fights and other “non-football acts” where the crew threw a flag. Officiating vice president Al Riveron and his staff in New York would look at the footage and could instruct the crew to eject a player they missed, confirm an ejection, or correct the crew if they misidentified a player and wrongly sent him to the showers.
New this year, Riveron and company can weigh in on an ejection due to a personal foul. Thanks to this rule tweak, replay can step in and order the crew to eject a player for flagrant unnecessary roughness.
While I do not support the expanded use of replay in general, this is a good expansion. When there is a flagrant foul or fight on the field, officials want to get the call right and hand out justice fairly. Officials hate to miss flagrant acts.
Here’s a recap of other instant replay rule changes for 2019, which, unlike the replay expansion, are for one season only:
- Replay can review pass interference calls and no-calls (in case you haven’t heard)
- All two-point conversion tries are subject to review (successful or not). This closes a loophole where teams had to challenge unsuccessful point conversions, except under 2:00, when it is an extension of a scoring play and the clock is irrelevant to the play. Now, all conversion attempts are subject to a booth review, no matter the time on the clock, no matter if they are successful.
Instant replay is expanding. The camel’s nose is in the tent. Will the rest of the camel follow suit?