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John Harbaugh lobbies hard for expanded replay

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Nobody showed more passion during Tuesday's AFC Coaches Breakfast than John Harbaugh on the topic of expanding replay.

The Ravens coach lobbied hard for a rule change proposed by Baltimore that would allow officials to take a second look at helmet-to-helmet hits and on-field collisions impacting player safety.

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"Safety should be in replay," Harbaugh said. "The fact that safety is not in replay right now just makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

"If we're talking about a full-speed shot and the official's got to decide, right in the moment, if he got hit in the head or not, he doesn't want to make a mistake, he doesn't want to flag that 15 yards because that's going to alter the game. He may not throw that flag," Harbaugh said. "But if he knows he's protected by replay and he thinks there was helmet (or) neck area contact, he'll throw the flag. And then if you see it on the replay, 'Oh, he didn't get it on the head,' we'll throw the red flag and we'll get it right. To me that protects the player even more."

Not everyone agrees that replay should bloom into something larger.

"I'm a traditionalist. I'm not into it," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. "The essence of replay originally was for the significant, game-changing plays, it's a tool of officiating. I like to leave it in that box. ... I think a lot of times, when you're talking about replay, it's a Band-Aid in the big scheme of things and I don't want to focus on the Band-Aid."

But Harbaugh -- quite fired up -- promised reporters that expanded replay will "pass eventually," adding that "at some point in time, it's going to shift and everything's going to be reviewable except certain categories, and that's what our proposal says. So it's either going to be done now, or it's going to be done soon."

Harbaugh argued that five games alone last season were determined by "non-reviewable calls," saying: "The fans don't understand that. They don't want to look at that all week and see that their team -- the official made a mistake that everybody can see -- the fans saw in real time -- that the league said, 'It's not reviewable. We can't fix that.' What do you mean we can't fix it? We can't fix it because we decide not to be able to fix it. We can fix it -- just fix it. Make it reviewable."

Said the Ravens coach: "It's not 1999, when we put replay in. I mean everybody's watching the game through their Smartphones, OK? The fans live in replay. The fans are appreciating the game in replay. The fans have a better view and better look at the game than the official does. Why aren't we giving the officials and coaches that same view?"

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