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Thursday, January 9, 2014
Ravens owner supports replay changes

By Jamison Hensley

In Wednesday's "State of the Ravens" news conference, Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti gave his thoughts on the state of the league as well, specifically the current replay system.

He is in favor of making the process better, faster, and in his words "fairer" for referees.

"I heard talk of the potential to do it the NHL way, where these reviews are done in New York. I’m all for it," Bisciotti said. "And, I think it takes almost three minutes, even though they’re only allowed under the hood for one minute, by the time the ref goes over and talks to the guy, and he throws his flag, and then he walks over, and he’s on the headset, and he looks at all the different replays. I think we can expedite that process and make it better."

Bisciotti added, "I think it’s easier for a nonpartisan guy up in New York to overrule that ref than it is that ref walking over to overrule himself or his teammate, so to speak. So, I’m all for the New York thing. I think it would make it better, I think it would make it more efficient."

The NFL first adopted a limited replay system in 1986, and the league's current system of challenging calls began in 1999.

In the Ravens' second-to-last game of the season, Bisciotti spoke to Ravens coach John Harbaugh and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on the field about how difficult it is for referees to distinguish in a split second what's a helmet-to-helmet hit  and what's not.

"I really think that we need to make it fairer for the refs -- not easier for the refs, but just fairer for the refs -- because I think that we can all conclude that we still have the best refs out there," Bisciotti said. "Unfortunately for them, I think a great job is being right 80 percent of the time. But, when it costs you a game, it doesn’t matter whether they’re 95 percent right or 30 percent right. So, I kind of think they get a bad rap. But I think we can get that better."

Another change that would be supported by Bisciotti is giving coaches an extra challenge, especially if the system is streamlined to make it faster. Right now, coaches get two opportunities to challenge during a game. If both challenges are successful, the coach receives a third one.

"I think having to decide whether you want to use a challenge in the first quarter, it’s hard for a coach, because he’s thinking, ‘I think we see it, we might have a chance at it, but I can’t afford to give that challenge up,'" Bisciotti said. "That, to me -- if I was in charge -- I would be heading there full-speed ahead, and I really think the league is at least heading in that direction."

Bisciotti then said, "If I can kick their [butts] a little bit faster, I certainly will. But, I’m not on the Competition Committee."

Bisciotti then patted the back of general manager Ozzie Newsome, who is on the NFL Competition Committee.