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Instant replay here to stay

The Baltimore Sun

PHOENIX -- The NFL made instant replay a permanent rule yesterday at the league's owners meetings.

There were two years remaining on the latest extension to use instant replay, but the owners voted 30-2 to make it a permanent fixture. The Arizona Cardinals and the Cincinnati Bengals were the only teams who voted against it.

"We couldn't go backward," Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said. "We have always been in favor of instant replay as a team and continue to do so. Instant replay solves more problems than it creates."

In addition to making it permanent, the NFL will require all but three stadiums (the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, and New York Giants and New York Jets are building new ones) to be equipped with high-definition equipment this season.

"Instant replay is an accepted part of the game," said Atlanta Falcons general manager Rich McKay, co-chairman of the competition committee that recommended the change. "There was not really much discussion about it."

The owners also voted unanimously to allow a second interviewing window for assistant coaches on Super Bowl teams who are in the running for head coaching jobs.

But a proposal to allow defenses to have a coach-to-player communication device (similar to what quarterbacks use) was defeated.

Getting paid

Ravens safety Dawan Landry was the top recipient of the NFL's performance-based pay system, earning an additional $366,017 (which more than doubles his 2006 salary).

One of the biggest surprises of last year's draft, Landry was the fifth-leading tackler on the NFL's top-ranked defense. A fifth-round pick, he made $275,000 last season.

"It reflects two things: the ability of Ozzie Newsome's staff to find good players in later rounds and a good player stepping up to a higher level," Bisciotti said.

The system, which was founded in 2002, creates a fund as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary.

End zone

Bisciotti has been a part of two high-profile groups (the broadcasting and the new digital media committees) during the owners meetings. ... Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who has seen nine of his players get arrested since January 2006, said the only way to get the attention of players is to punish them with reduced playing time and fines. "You have to know coming in that the action is going to be quick and it's going to get you," said Lewis, a former Ravens defensive coordinator.


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