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Owners OK change to allow league office to help officials with replay

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NFL officials will get a little extra help this year in handling the administration of the instant replay rules during games.

NFL owners voted Tuesday at their spring meetings here to adopt a couple of changes to their instant replay rules. The changes will allow the league office in New York to assist on-field officials on the application of rules "including appropriate assessment of penalty yardage, proper down and status of the game clock."

This is a change the league tried out last year in the postseason, and owners believed it worked well. Dean Blandino and members of the league's officiating department can communicate directly with officials during games to help them assess the proper yardage following, say, a pass interference call, and can stop a game to ensure that the proper amount of time remains on the clock.

The Baltimore Ravens had initially proposed a significant expansion of the number and types of plays that could be reviewed, but they withdrew that proposal last week and the owners instead adopted a more modest alteration of the rule Tuesday.

The owners meetings continued Tuesday with a late-morning discussion about upcoming international games in Mexico, the United Kingdom and possibly China. In the afternoon, owners were scheduled to hear proposals and vote on upcoming Super Bowl sites.