Fans in stadiums to see ref's replay

Updated: July 5, 2012, 1:21 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Fans at NFL games this season will get a look under the hood, so to speak -- all stadium video boards will show the same replay the lead official is viewing on the sideline video monitor.

"They'll see the exact same angles at the exact same time as he does," Rich McKay, the Atlanta Falcons' president and NFL competition committee chairman, said this week.

I think this is another example of the league listening to its fans about what they want from the in-game experience.

-- Rich McKay, chairman of
NFL competition committee

It's a positive for fans because they haven't always had that vantage point. Prior to this coming season, it was up to home teams to show as much or as little replay as they wanted.

"I think this is another example of the league listening to its fans about what they want from the in-game experience," McKay said. "I think throughout this edition of replay, the league, the teams and our broadcast partners have done a nice job of using the available technology to make the game better and make the experience better for the fans."

Replay was first implemented for the 1986 season, voted out in 1992, then brought back in 1999 in its current form, with the coaches' challenge system. Replay has gone through tweaks and a couple more will be revealed this season. Among the changes is that all turnovers will be subject to review by the replay booth.

When the league brought back replay in 1999, one emphasis was on getting calls right and keeping replays from dragging out games much longer than three hours. It has worked well and McKay said he is confident the system will continue to get better.

Last year, the rule was changed to make every scoring play reviewable by the replay booth. McKay said last season's games averaged about only one second longer than in 2010. The average time of a game last season was about 3 hours, 5 minutes.

"We were fearful going in about how we could pull it off," McKay said. "I give the league a lot of credit for pulling it off the right way."

McKay also said a review of all of last season's replays showed that the right call was made close to 99 percent of the time.

"The biggest question over time is, are we ever going to move all decisions upstairs?" McKay said. "College football feels very comfortable with their decision upstairs. But I don't see that in our near future."

Information from ESPN.com NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas and The Associated Press was used in this report.