Tag Archives: Instant Replay

Ways To Fix Football Replay Reviews

The Wisconsin/Arizona St. finish was awful. The referees lost control, didn’t know the rules, and didn’t take the time to review the final play to get it right. The PAC 12 apologized, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was literally impactful to the result. It’s time to improve instant replay reviews in both pro and college.

The No Huddle Problem

Offenses are moving towards no huddle offenses, and this at a minimum makes teams much better at getting snaps off before plays can be challenged or signaled for review. The NFL has changed rules in the last couple of years to booth review all scoring plays and turnovers, and that’s a nice start, but they have to do something about first down plays that are incorrectly called. It seems as though every week some team avoids a challenge because the offense knows to quickly get the snap off.

The problem is that 90% of the time, people watching at home can see a play that is close and thing a review is warranted, so it shouldn’t be that difficult for someone in the booth to agree. They should buzz down if it’s too close, and review them just like turnovers and scoring plays. Verification from the booth if the play was good or not.

Under the Hood Reviews

It has never made any sense to have the referee on the field have to jog over to a corner of the field, and watch replays himself. Especially since THERE IS A REPLAY OFFICIAL ALREADY! There is literally a guy in the booth who reviews all turnovers and scoring plays. Why doesn’t this guy just review the replays and save what would surely amount to a couple of minutes per review? This one seems obvious, and also seems highly likely to be changed in the next couple of years.

End of the Game Plays

The previously mentioned Wisconsin/ASU game shows a major problem, particularly in college with the fans storming the field, games that end on questionable calls are hard to review and correct. It sounds like it wouldn’t had any difference in Tempe since the referees didn’t seem to know the correct rules anyway, but it should be fixable if they did. Because it’s the end of the game and slowing things down at that point shouldn’t matter, every end of game play should be reviewed and confirmed just like scoring and turnover plays.

Penalties Should Be Reviewable

Some penalties are judgement calls (intentional grounding, pass interference, etc.), but many are simply binary (offsides, too many men on the field, etc.). It makes no sense that penalties are not reviewable. With the targeting rules being called much more frequently as player protection becomes a point of emphasis. In real-time these plays look different than they do upon a second look. These kinds of plays are impacting games as much as calling turnovers incorrectly, and yet they are going unreviewed.

The Counter Arguments

The biggest counter to expanding replay is that the games will get too long. But the games are already too long, and almost all of that is a result of commercials. But nowadays during reviews the networks tend to go to commercial a lot of the time anyway. So if there are extra reviews along the way then they can just skip the commercials after every single change of possession. Or the extra one that comes when it’s touchdown-extra point-commercial-kickoff-commercial.

The other counter argument is that human error is “just part of the game.” Of course this is ridiculous anyway, but it gets compounded when someone decided that some things can be reviewed while others can’t.

Wrap Up

The goal should always be to let the players and coaches decide the game, not the refs. The calls should be fair, and accurate. The calls need to be right all the time, not just when it meets certain parameters, or is initiated by a challenge, or can be reviewed before a team quickly runs another play. The good news is that both the NFL and the NCAA are making pretty regular changes, so there is still hope that most of these issues will be cleared up soon.

A Ridiculous Argument Against More Replay in MLB

This post refers to espn.go.com

Anna McDonald:

Joe Torre hinted at this mind-set when he said, “The game isn’t perfect. For all of us that want everything to be right all the time, that’s not going to be the case, no matter how much replay you’re going to see. I don’t know why we want everything to be perfect. Life isn’t perfect. I think this is a game of life, myself.”

Even though this is not a popular opinion, Torre is right. Our culture today wants everything to be right all the time but sometimes perfection is found in overcoming mistakes. Think back to backyard baseball games as a kid. There are lessons to be learned in arguing over if your friend stepped on the Frisbee used as the first-base bag or not. Lessons of arrogance and humbleness, of moving on or going home in the face of frustration.

I don’t know anything about Anna McDonald, but this is insane logic. The argument is that “life isn’t perfect?” What is this, kindergarten kickball? The comparison to backyard baseball is ridiculous. They guys are played millions of dollars. Fans pay $100 a ticket. Shouldn’t the outcome be based exclusively on the players on the field and not human error? Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

Stats About Big Ten Replay Reviews

This post refers to espn.go.com

Good information on instant replay reviews in the Big 10. The two most interesting stats to me are that only about 30% of reviewed plays are reversed, and that almost no coaches challenges are successful.

On The Sugar Bowl Overturned Catch In OT

This post refers to mgoblog.com

Seth from mgoblog on the overturned catch in the Sugar Bowl overtime:

[On people who say: "But it's too close to call/not enough evidence to overturn!"]: If someone is saying this to you they are confusing a Law & Order episode for reality. They have conceded that “incomplete” is the correct call, and are essentially complaining that it should have been ruled incorrectly because of a technicality in the literal meaning of the review rule. You cannot complain about calls the refs get right; that’s not how complaining works. If you think the video is “inconclusive” you are conceding the call could have gone equally either way and saying it should be one or the other makes as much sense as whining that a flip of the coin should have been heads.

I don’t agree at all. Obviously the reality is he caught it or he didn’t, but in real-time the officials’ thought it was incomplete. And I do think that in real-time the call could have gone either way because it is really hard to see and the ball is on the wrong side for the closest official. I think that no matter what the call on the field, the video didn’t convince me one way or the other and there is no way I would reversed the call no matter what the call on the field was.

To say this is “complaining that it should have been ruled incorrectly because of a technicality in the literal meaning of the review rule”, I say this, it’s not a “technicality”, it’s a rule, written clearly. I don’t think there is anyway to interpret “indisputable video evidence” any other way than that.

That being said, as a Michigan fan, of course I am glad the call was changed, my team benefited. But I think Hokie fans have a right to be perturbed.