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Referees with tablets: NFL plans change to replay reviews

In this Aug. 7, 2014, file photo, referee Tony Corrente watches an instant replay during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Denver. The NFL is making plans to speed up the pace of games, including changing how video replays are handled.
In this Aug. 7, 2014, file photo, referee Tony Corrente watches an instant replay during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Denver. The NFL is making plans to speed up the pace of games, including changing how video replays are handled. The Associated Press

The days of watching an NFL referee watch a replay during a game are over.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote an open letter to fans and said the league was going to try and reduce the amount of time is spent on replays. The league will go to a replay system that is similar to the Major League Baseball model. One difference: referees on the field will look at a tablet.

Here is what Goodell wrote:

“Instead of a fixed sideline monitor, we will bring a tablet to the Referee who can review the play in consultation with our officiating headquarters in New York, which has the final decision. This should improve consistency and accuracy of decisions and help speed up the process.”

In baseball, umpires also are in contact with an official in baseball’s replay center in New York. Instead of tablet, umpires have a headset to talk with the replay officials.

The NFL’s new review procedure will be voted on by owners at the league meetings, which start Sunday in Phoenix.

Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, is expected to have the final call on a play that is reviewed.

“We’re going to centralize the replay back here in New York,” Goodell said on “Mike & Mike,” per weei.com. “We want the referee’s input. … He can look at the play, be in communication back in our office with Dean Blandino, and Dean Blandino will have the final decision. We think that will move it much quicker.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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