NFL Expands Instant Replay, Changes Overtime

NFL Expands Instant Replay, Changes Overtime

One thing about the National Football League is they are always tinkering with the rules, searching for ways to improve upon the game. The most noticeable change when play picks back up on September 5 will be an expansion of the instant replay rule. Much like all scoring plays became subject to a booth review a year ago, the same process now applies following all turnovers as well.

Before play can resume after a fumble or interception, an official upstairs will replay the call on the field, and determine whether or not it merits further review.

It's a welcome addition to the system, considering how much turnovers swing the momentum, not to mention the frequency with which the call on the field winds up being incorrect. How often has a runner's knee touched the ground before the ball popped out, or an errant throw actually skipped off the turf before the defensive back "intercepted" the pass?

The Eagles were on the wrong end of such a call last season in Week 2 at Atlanta. A Michael Vick interception in the third quarter had clearly touched the ground, but by the time the NBC telecast showed an angle revealing the mistake, the Falcons offense was on the field, and the opportunity to challenge was lost. The Birds went on to blow a 10-point lead, falling 35-31.

Unfortunately, what failed to pass was a measure that would have allowed the replay official in the booth to rule on reviews. Rather than have an on-field official watch the replay, the booth official upstairs would make the decision to uphold or overturn calls instead. The thought process was it would cut down on the length of reviews, but for now, it's not to be.

The other major rule change will be a change in the overtime format -- pay attention, Donovan. Basically, the league will adopt the current playoff procedure in the regular season as well.

The rule, originally passed in 2010, was implemented for the first time in January when the Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in extra time. To summarize, the game cannot be won with a field goal on the period's opening possession. In any other situation, overtime is still sudden death.

No real game-changers other than that, though more potential changes could be coming before football returns. Current items for review are moving the trade deadline back, expanded rosters in training camp, allowing players to return from injured reserve, and another Eagles-fan favorite: preventing away teams from traveling more than one time zone for Thursday night games.

>> NFL Rule Changes for 2012 [PFT]

Best of MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

Best of MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Max Kepler homered and drove in four runs, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco each had a career-high four hits and the Minnesota Twins roared back to beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-7 Monday night.

Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning and 6-2 entering the fifth before cranking up the offense against Ubaldo Jimenez and an ineffective Baltimore bullpen.

A two-run double by Kepler helped the Twins knot the score in the fifth, Minnesota sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth and Sano added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Joe Mauer had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Twins, who reached season highs in runs and hits (21).

Adam Jones hit a three-run drive in the second inning off Kyle Gibson (1-4) for Baltimore (see full recap).

Peacock, Astros 1-hit Tigers
HOUSTON -- Brad Peacock and three relievers combined for a one-hitter and Jose Altuve provided the offense with an RBI double to lead the Houston Astros to 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Peacock was solid moving out of the bullpen to make a spot start for injured ace Dallas Keuchel. In his first start since September, Peacock allowed the lone hit and struck out eight in 4 1/3 innings. He was lifted after walking Tyler Collins with one out in the fifth inning.

Chris Devenski (3-2) took over and pitched 2 2/3 innings for the win before Will Harris pitched a scoreless eighth. Ken Giles struck out two in the ninth for his 12th save to allow the Astros to bounce back after being swept by the Indians over the weekend.

Detroit's only hit was a single by Mikie Mahtook with one out in the third on a night the Tigers tied a season high by striking out 14 times. The team's only baserunner after Collins was Victor Martinez, who was plunked with one out in the seventh. But Houston still faced the minimum in that inning when J.D. Martinez grounded into a double play to end the seventh.

The Astros struck early against Michael Fulmer (5-2) when George Springer drew a leadoff walk before scoring on the double by Altuve to make it 1-0 with one out in the first (see full recap).

Homers help Yankees top Royals
NEW YORK -- Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner and Chris Carter homered, and the New York Yankees once again downed Jason Vargas by beating the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Monday night.

A reversed umpire's call in the seventh inning kept the Yankees ahead and enabled Michael Pineda (5-2) to top Vargas for the second time in a week. The Royals, with the worst record in the AL, have lost five of seven.

Vargas (5-3) began the day with a 2.03 ERA, tied for second-best in the majors. But the lefty fell to 0-7 lifetime against the Yankees when he was tagged by Gardner and Gregorius, the only left-handed hitters in the New York lineup (see full recap).

West Chester baseball wins Atlantic Regional, moves on to national championship tourney

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Photo credit: Ed Mailliard

West Chester baseball wins Atlantic Regional, moves on to national championship tourney

West Chester University baseball is moving on to the 2017 NCAA National Championships.

The Golden Rams won the Division II Atlantic Regional Final on Monday with a 12-7 decision over Winston-Salem State at Russell Diethrick Park.

Sophomore first baseman Jared Melone reached base six times, going 5 for 5 with a walk and four RBIs, while shortstop Nick Ward scored four runs and collected three hits to help West Chester capture its fourth regional title in program history.

Senior right-hander Josh McClain picked up the win in relief with three innings of one-run ball, as the Golden Rams scored five in the eighth inning to win their first regional crown since 2012, the year they won the national championship. 

West Chester is now 40-11 overall and will open national championship tournament play on Saturday at 3 p.m. against North Georgia in Grand Prairie, Texas.

For more details, see below.