ORLANDO, Fla. - Mike Brown detests instant replay. He'd rather answer questions about Marvin Lewis' status any day of the week than sit through a delay on Sunday caused by review.
Always has and so while he expects his fellow owners to approve the NFL going to The New York System Tuesday, he's not so sure it's going to be the best thing for the game if the delays become even longer.
"They've come up with restraints that should prevent it from taking longer, but whether that's how it works out, in fact, is not certain, in my mind," Brown said. "Because I've seen over time a lot of assurances about what it would and what it wouldn't do and the one thing I do know is that our games are longer and I don't like that. I don't think our games should be three hours and now we're sitting on three hours and seven minutes and we're saying that's fine. I don't think so. I would rather that we do things to shorten them."
The idea is that when there is a play under review, the referee on site consults with a centralized location in New York staffed with NFL people. The ref has final authority, but he's going to get plenty of input. After appearing with NFL competition committee co-chairman Jeff Fisher and Rich McKay at Monday's late afternoon press conference, Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, offered those assurances the new system won't lengthen the game.
"We feel it will be more efficient. It will tie into our communication system. The officials will be able to communicate wirelessly," Blandino said. "Then the referee is going to be able to communicate to New York and the replay official (in the stadium). As soon as he makes his announcement, we can start that conversation, versus, now he has to make the announcement, run over 30, 40 yards and put the head set on. So we feel we can certainly speed up the process."
Brown isn't so sure.
"I don't know if there is ultimate justice in football any more than there is in real life. I can accept officiating error. It balances out over time," he said. "Some of these calls are so close, you really can't tell even after you see the instant replay. It happens very fast often times. I would just be content to let the referees call the game the old-fashioned way and make it go faster."
Maybe the one thing the centralized system can hopefully abolish for the most part is the dreaded Tuesday letter. The one where the league responds to a team's list of questionable flags and admits it screwed up a call.
"I think it will," Blandino said. "We're trying to be more consistent, more accurate and more efficient. We think this process will lead us in that direction."
Brown likes the fact the ref is going to be able to tell the coach exactly what is going on in real time.
"One of the pluses to that is he can explain to the coach on the sideline exactly why he did what he did. And on occasions he can explain to the public," Brown said. "If he's the one doing it he can explain better and I think explaining is better than not explaining."
But for Brown, it all gets back to waiting. And waiting. Waiting on a process that is never going to be perfect no matter how many people are looking at it.
"I understand the arguments for it. They're logical, but I don't think the game is perfectible in this area. I don't think any game is," Brown said. "It might make one call better. We have calls it doesn’t process. Even if it has jurisdiction over everything, there are going to be calls it doesn’t process. I am so utterly conservative that it is easy for me to accept that officiating isn't perfect. It has error in it. I can live with that. I don’t get too bothered by it."