Mixed reviews so far on NFL's instant replay

By JEFF GOODMAN The Associated Press

After attending a three-day NFL seminar, Fox's Bill Maas was convinced the league's new instant replay system would be successful. After watching his first game, however, he's not so sure.

Maas worked the Tennessee-Kansas City preseason game Sunday as a TV analyst for a local Kansas City station. The first replay opportunity came in the second quarter when Titans coach Jeff Fisher appealed an incomplete pass.

The problem? The computerized system didn't work, and the replay crew had to go to a backup videotape system. The process took about four minutes to resolve.

``I'm in favor of instant replay of some sort, but I'm also a believer, after viewing it, there are going to be some hang-ups,'' Maas said. ``It's all going to depend on the feeds coming from the network trucks. When it comes down to a critical moment, the networks are going to be accountable.''

Instant replay's other problem came during ABC's Hall of Fame Game, when officials didn't realize they were able to review a play during a commercial. Once they figured it out, the process took less than a minute.

``It's not a system without flaws, but it's about as close to perfect as you're going to get in this situation,'' said ABC's Boomer Esiason.

That's two mistakes in 18 exhibition games so far. Not a bad start.

Of the 19 times play has been halted for replay this preseason, just one has been reversed. Thirteen have been coaches' challenges and the remaining six came during the final two minutes of the half and the game, when replay officials upstairs decide whether to review a play.

The sole reversal came when Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher argued that one of his players, Hines Ward, was in possession of the ball before it went out of bounds after a blocked punt. The original call of a safety was correctly reversed to a touchdown by the replay crew.

``There have been people quick to jump on us for the incident in Kansas City, but the preseason is about working out the kinks, and we'd rather have problems now than in the regular season,'' said Dennis Lewin, head of broadcasting for the NFL.