Blandino: NFL to talk expanded use of instant replay

*PHOENIX -- With increased attention and visibility comes added scrutiny on NFL officials, and in no way was that more evident than in 2014/'15. On Thursday, NFL vice president of football operations Troy Vincent joined head of officiating Dean Blandino and Super Bowl crew chief Bill Vinovich to discuss a few matters, including the deflated ball controversy, the future of replay and other significant changes that could be in the fold. Here are a few takeaways: *

  1. Blandino said that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was mistaken when he told reporters that a new signal would be utilized to help identify eligible or ineligible receivers. "The new signal, it's not really a new signal ... the signal is basically what occurred during the AFC Championship Game. Walt Anderson, our referee, he pointed at the player, No. 47, he waved his arms like an incomplete pass and then pointed at the player again. So that will be the mechanics of it."
  1. Each Super Bowl team is in possession of 54 game balls, more than quadruple the typical amount of footballs on a normal game day. The reason, according to Blandino, is mostly related to outside responsibilities (souvenir footballs, charity footballs etc.) But the protocol on how the balls are handled will not change drastically based on recent events. Officials take custody of the game balls on Friday and have them in control through Sunday when they are returned to the teams, inspected and gaged once again. "There will be some added security based in the environment we're in with this game," Blandino said.
  1. Blandino did not think Walt Anderson did anything incorrectly during his initial inspection of the footballs. He declined to comment further, but did say the officials will look into changing the process. Among the potential alterations on the table: Random, in-game inspections of footballs and added staff specifically in charge of game balls.
  1. The league will discuss an expanded use of replay, which could include reviewing any calls made by an official. Blandino noted that there were two calls in particular this postseason that stood out -- the pass interference call in the Detroit-Dallas game and the Dez Bryant catch -- which caused a flurry of suggested rule changes. The Lions, for example, proposed a change that would allow expanded use of replay.
  1. Pleased with the unpredictability of narrow goal posts during the Pro Bowl, Vincent said a change on that front is very much possible. Adam Vinatieri missed a pair of extra points and a 38-yard field goal.
  1. Aware of the increased number of rules plaguing officials, Vincent said there will be a focus to streamline the rule book this offseason, a process that could eliminate some extraneous rules and make for a more efficiently called game.
  1. Despite an increased focus on pass interference, calls only rose on average by two per game. Game time decreased by 1:44 per game.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast reacts to the Patriots' deflated footballs controversy and tells you whom to trust in Super Bowl XLIX. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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