Watch it Over Again

Sports fans love to complain when there’s a blown call. Choruses of boos routinely come from the bleachers, targeted right at the poor referees who 99 times out of 100 are doing their best and deserve the benefit of the doubt. Instead of complaining why don’t we fix the problem?

Football, being less of a tradition-adoring sport than baseball, and having a more practical application than basketball, took the lead on implementing instant replay. The NFL created a challenge system where coaches could throw a red flag to “challenge” questionable calls. College football followed suit with a similar system.

That said, the football big wigs decided you’d only be able to challenge certain disputes. Clemson lost to Georgia Tech last year on a phantom holding call. The referee called a hold on Thomas Austin, and replay showed that there was nothing even remotely resembling a hold from the Clemson offensive line. Why shouldn’t that be reviewable? Are we so concerned with making the games longer that we’re not going to get calls right? Don’t they have a limited number of challenges anyway? Why shouldn’t coaches be able to challenge any play that’s…wrong?

The NBA has recently expanded the use of replay.  Initially replay was only used to determine if a buzzer beating shot indeed beat the buzzer. They’ve recently expanded the use of instant replay to determine if a shot was a 3-pointer or a 2-pointer. This is another positive step toward making the correct calls without slowing the game down.

America’s true pastime, baseball, has finally joined the rest of the country in attempting to get calls right. Balls hit near the foul pole can be reviewed by replay to determine if they are home runs or foul balls. God bless them, but baseball hasn’t done the best job implementing replay. There are lengthy delays while umpires trot into the club house to huddle around a TV and decide on a call. I’m sure they’re just grabbing snacks while they’re back there. Eventually they’ll streamline the system (have a few guys in the back on standby), but I still give them kudos for trying.

Finally, this one was saved for last because they’re the dumbest for not implementing replay. The World Cup is absolutely crazy to not add at least limited use of replay. The application is so easy. Heck, there are only three or so goals per game. Just review those couple of goals. Check to make sure they crossed the line, and check any goals called back while you’re at it. Why are we sitting around watching 90 minutes of scoreless soccer just to see the only goal called back on an incorrect offside call? The arrogance of FIFA is remarkable. Check out this brutal incorrect call (England’s disallowed goal) and tell me they shouldn’t review all goals. For goodness’ sake, we wait around while players fake injuries; I don’t think anyone would mind waiting while a game’s only goal is reviewed.

So please, tell me how anybody is against at least limited use of replay in sports. If you’re against replay don’t boo the referees next time they miss a call, because to get it right all they have to do is watch it over again.

Tommy, what do they do in the NHL? Please tell me you’re not against replay.

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3 thoughts on “Watch it Over Again

  1. The NHL does use replay to review goals vs. non-goals. There’s really nothing you can do to overturn an icing or an offside call, because those calls make the flow of play. There’s no way to get that back once the whistle is initially blown. The only other thing would be penalties, but I don’t know of any league that reviews penalties/fouls.

    And no, I am not against replay. Quite the opposite, actually.

  2. That’s good. Soccer has a great application for replay because there are plenty of goals that are scored and then taken away of iffy offside calls and they can look to see if the ball crossed the line.

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