Fixing Instant Replay

I hate it. I wish the NFL and college football would just get rid of it. Personally, I think mistakes by refs are part of the game, and that the number of truly results changing mistakes is extremely small. So small that the benefits of replay don’t outweigh its costs in delays and confusion. But I realize my view is a minority.

Still, even if you think replay is a good idea, I think you have to admit that it is both over inclusive and under inclusive. I’ll use today’s Alabama Ol’ Miss game for examples of both problems.

As for the under inclusiveness, in the first half, an Ol’ Miss receiver clearly fumbled the ball when hit by a Bama defender. Alabama recovered it. No doubt about it. The receiver caught it, got hit, dropped it and the Tide recovered. Unfortunately, because prior to the fumble a ref had already ruled the receiver down – which he was obviously not – the play was unreviewable. So you had a clear and obvious mistake on a play that would have resulted in a change of possession, yet it was exempt from replay. That makes no sense to me. Wht good is replay if it can’t fix an obvious material mistake like this one?

For over inclusion, we go to the second half. Ol’ Miss has a third and goal from Bama’s twenty. Pass is completed to about the twelve. Receiver fumbles. Ol’ Miss recovers at about the sixteen. Replay. Why? To make sure the ball should be spotted at the sixteen rather than the seventeen yard line! They stopped the game at a crucial moment in order to review a play that did not result in a score, a change of possession, or even a first down. Nope, they stopped it for the sake of one lousy yard. Waste.Of.Time.

O.K., so here’s my solution, in a few quick points.

One, make every play reviewable. That solves the under inclusion problem.

Two, to make sure only important plays get reviewed, do the following:

Each team gets one challenge per game. An incentive to save it for something important.

    Only plays that result in a score, change of possession, or first down are reviewable. The whole point of replay is to prevent a mistake from changing a game. Hence, the replays ought to be limited to truly important plays.

    Lose a challenge, lose a possession. Sorry, but losing a time out is not a big enough cost. Coaches ought to be really, really, sure the play was wrong before they make everyone sit through a replay.

    No “booth” reviews. The teams are the only ones with an interest in the outcome of the game. Hence, only they should choose what plays get reviewed.

    Anyway, those are my ideas. I’ll be waiting for Roger Goodell to call.

    Explore posts in the same categories: Sports - College Football, Sports - NFL

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