'Bowman rule' has 49ers, Harbaugh's support

'Bowman rule' has 49ers, Harbaugh's support
March 24, 2014, 10:45 am
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NaVorro Bowman sustained severe knee damage while forcing a turnover that did not count due to replay review rules. (USATSI)

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ORLANDO, Fla. – The so-called "NaVorro Bowman rule" has the support of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

“We’ll be for it,” Harbaugh said Monday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think it has a good chance to be adopted. Common sense.”

Bowman sustained severe knee damage in the NFC Championship game while stripping Seattle Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse of the ball near the goal line. Bowman clearly had possession of the ball while on the ground. But the officials ruled that Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch wrestled the ball away from him and Seattle maintained possession. Despite clear visual evidence Bowman had the ball and was down by contact, the play was not reviewable.

As a result of the Bowman play, teams will vote this week on a rules change that expands reviewable plays to include the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play.

“I think that’s a good one,” Harbaugh said. “I think that’ll get passed.”

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Harbaugh is also in favor of a proposal that will allow the referee to consult with designated members of the NFL officiating department at the command center in New York during a review.

“I like the fact the discussion of the review starts immediately,” Harbaugh said. “It doesn’t wait for the referee to go under the hood. There’s teamwork involved in getting the play right. I think that’s what everybody wants.”

Harbaugh also supports the addition of stationary cameras on the goal lines and sidelines for review purposes.

But he is far less certain about the proposal to move back the line of scrimmage on extra points to the 25-yard line.

“I have to think about that some more,” Harbaugh said. “The arguments are still being made. The negative is changing part of the game that’s been long-standing. The positives: Does it make it more exciting, more competitive to move the field goal line back? Does that differ for teams that play in domes, as opposed to outdoor weather? There will be more discussion on that.

“I’m not for dramatically changing the game.”