PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Either the latest instant replay system was working, or NFL owners are getting tired of arguing over it.
That seemed to be the message of Wednesday's 28-3 vote to retain the system installed last year after a seven-season absence. Not only were proponents of replay thrilled with the overwhelming passage -- it needed 24 votes -- but they were talking about something more long-lasting.
''We were happy with the system that was in place last year,'' said Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green, a member of the competition committee, which recommended 6-1 to the owners to retain replay. ''The feeling is, give it another year, and if it works well again, then vote next year to have this system for the future. I don't think we should vote on this one year at a time. If it's good, let's keep it in the books.''
Green: Vikings looking at Brister
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings are looking at Bubby Brister, who was just released by Denver, in case Jeff George rejects an offer to return as quarterback this coming season, coach Dennis Green said today.
''We're interested in anybody who can come and help us,'' Green told WCCO Radio. ''We've got an offer out for Jeff George. Jeff has not accepted that offer yet. You can only wait so long.''
Replay will be exactly the same: Coaches will get two challenges per game, and a replay official can stop play on his own for a challenge in the last two minutes of each half and in overtime. Will it last?
''I'm very happy where we are,'' Packers general manager Ron Wolf said, ''but I think we can improve on it. I'm sure we can with the technology available to us.''
That's why a permanent acceptance isn't likely. While it takes a three-fourths majority to make a rules change, it takes the same margin to repeal something permanent. Considering the controversy surrounding replay, even when it works well, it seems improbable the owners would go to it long term.
Cincinnati and Arizona voted against it for the second straight year. Kansas City replaced the New York Jets as the third dissenter.
''Human nature doesn't change, and it's humans who run these machines,'' said Cincinnati's Mike Brown, who has voted against replay every time it has been proposed.
''I voted for it last year to give a chance,'' said Kansas City's Lamar Hunt, another consistent antireplay owner. ''I didn't think it worked any better than it had before.''
On-field celebrations by more than one player have been banned by a 30-0 vote. The Super Bowl champion Rams, who's celebratory '''Bob and Weave'' involved several players at once, abstained.
''The coaches said across the board that players on their teams regarded it as provocative,'' commissioner Paul Tagliabue said. ''The coaches felt it was very negative to spend time before a game trying to cool players down. They felt there was no need for it to be an issue in the locker room.''
Those coaches also were party to a policy change. The league eliminated the supervisory coaching tag that allowed teams to hire away assistant coaches from other teams. An assistant coach now can only be hired away to become a head coach, unless permission is given by his current team to the team pursuing him.
Much of the discussions this week have centered on the Internet, a topic that keenly interests Tagliabue. The owners voted to consolidate the Internet presence into NFL.com, with revenue equally divided among the 31 teams, just as television revenues are. That decision is for the next two years, then the issue will be reviewed.
''Many felt it was as important as in 1961, selling the TV rights as a national package,'' Tagliabue said.
The NFL discussed scheduling for 2002, when Houston enters the league. Tagliabue said there was some discussion of adding one team in each conference to the playoffs, expanding it to 14 teams.
On the Net: http//:www.nfl.com.
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