Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Eagles win battle to retain third replay challenge in games

The NFL has decided the replay official can review all scoring plays at any time during games.

That could result in an increase in reviewable plays from "5 to 15 percent" according to NFL Competition Committee co-chairman Rich McKay.

As if that's not enough interference, McKay also said the Eagles successfully pressed the committee to retain a third replay challenge for teams that prevailed on their first two challenges.

Curiously Andy Reid has never used a third challenge in his long and futile battle challenging reviewable plays. Reid batted 3-for-7 in challenges (42.66 percent), the 12th-worst conversion rate in the league but pretty good for a guy who entered the season batting in the low .300's.

According to NFL records only the Lions challenged fewer plays last year than the Eagles. The only winning teams with a worse success rate worse than the Eagles in 2010 were the Ravens, Bears, Jaguars, Jets and Steelers.

Additionally the replay official overturned just 32 130 plays last year (24.62 pecent). Only the Browns (16.67 percent), the Ravens (18.8 percent) and and the Panthers (21.43) had worse success rates in 2010.

The league also has moved kickoffs from the 30 to the 35-yard line and reduced the start of the covering team to five yards. It's an effort to improve player safety on one of the more violent phases of the game.

Moving touchbacks to the 25-yard line instead of the 20 and eliminating the blocking wedge also were discussed but not passed.

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