PHOENIX, Ariz. - We are on the very spot where 20 years ago the NFL passed instant replay, when Bengals president Mike Brown emerged in the vocal minority. Throwing a cautionary warning of delays breaking the flow of the game while opening up a genie's bottle of infinite plays to be reviewed, Brown voted no in the face of an overwhelming majority.
Now for a distant replay.
Brown plans to vote no again this week at the NFL owners' spring meeting as his fears have become realized in a spate of team-sponsored resolutions that range to allow any call to be challenged to the play clock being reviewed on replay.
Except this time it sounds like he's in the majority.
There are also resolutions to allow coaches to challenge personal fouls and to allow personal fouls to be reviewed, but not necessarily on coaches' challenges. And, to make all fouls that result in automatic first downs reviewable, allow replay review of rulings related to hits on defenseless receivers, review every foul for hits on defenseless players, increase the number of coaches' challenges from two to three, and allow the game clock at the end of the half and end of the game to be reviewed.
No, no, and no. If it sounds like all too much, Brown agrees.
"I will likely vote against the expansion of instant replay, whatever its form," Brown said Sunday. "Too many teams who felt injustice reached out with a proposal to correct it in hindsight through instant replay going forward. Spare me. We all have those cases. It's remarkable to me that we have as many stoppages in the game as we do. I don't want more of that. I want less of that. Instant replay is one of those. They have gotten more efficient with it. That's good. Still, it's a couple minutes plus every time it kicks in. I am willing to accept the calls on the field. Sometimes are better than others. It's part of the game."
One of the many reasons the Bengals are against it is they feel it disrupts the viewing pleasure of the fans in the stands. Both Paul Brown Stadium video boards are being replaced this offseason with larger models in a multi-million dollar project.
"We've got a great product to watch live. The in-stadium experience is wonderful and the more you delay that, slow it down you start to strain fans a little bit," said Bengals vice president Troy Blackburn. "That's a factor that this club focuses on that the in-stadium experience is a great experience and don't make it too tough on people."
Brown is voting the same way, and he'll have some friends.
"It slows the game. It distracts from play on the field," Brown said. "We have enough of it. We don't need more of it."