If nothing else, Bengals patriarch Mike Brown is a man who embraces change.
With his long history of progressive thought and open-mindedness, highlighted by his ongoing refusal to find value in trading the disgruntled Carson Palmer, it should come as little surprise that Brown has consistently objected to the evolution of the NFL's instant replay system, which has now become a familiar part of the game. In a recent interview at the NFL annual meetings in New Orleans, Brown objected to the Competition Committee's proposal to have each scoring play reviewed on the grounds that it slows the game down too much.
But despite his dissenting opinion, teams voted today to pass the proposal along with the new kickoff rule.
For years Brown has been one of the most vocal opponents of instant replay. In 1990, when the system was up for review after its trial run, he claimed that it "creates more problems than it solves." Later, in 2007, Brown was one of a minority of two to vote against the permanent adoption of the system. Despite the general embrace of replay by both fans and those within the NFL, Brown remains steadfast in his criticism:
"You know how I feel about instant replay. It's marvelous how complicated we can make it. I don't have any objection to the guy upstairs saying this play needs to be reviewed. That takes the makeup challenge away from the coaches. That's supposed to balance out the frequency of challenges. In my book, fewer challenges is better than more because I like the game to be uninterrupted. I like it to proceed. And I know the arguments for instant replay and yet I think it misses one key thing: It slows (the game) down and sometimes it produces justice that is most fine."
As always, Brown is a man striving to make things less complicated (I'm imagining a new Geiko commercial series called "Mike Brown: Problem Solver").
And while he may have a salient point about the proliferation of stoppages disrupting the pace of the game (we don't want this to turn into baseball of course), it may rankle Bengals fans to hear that he's willing to trade accuracy for flow. Then again, maybe there's a cosmic wisdom in his logic to "let the game proceed. It all balances out over time." It's a philosophy that's worked out well for the Bengals so far.