Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Time to end our long sports nightmare and kill replay

Upon further review, replay stinks.

All replay. All sports. Especially football.

Letís get rid of it and get rid of it right now. Seriously. Itís ruining games. Itís ruining seasons.

This isnít about one play, but letís talk about one play.

Last week: Steelers versus Patriots.

In the final minute, Steelers tight end Jesse James caught a pass at the 1-yard line, turned around with the ball and stretched it over the goal line. When he landed on the ground, the ball rattled in his hands and appeared to have barely scraped the ground.

James never lost control of the ball and every person on the entire planet who was watching, including every Patriot and every official on the field, thought it was a touchdown.

But the NFL, because it thinks things like this make the game better, reviewed the score for several minutes, breaking down the play frame-by-frame on sophisticated HD televisions. After several minutes, the touchdown call was reversed and ruled an incomplete pass. The Patriots held on for the 27-24 win and, with the help of that call, have an excellent chance for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Now, you might argue that replay wasnít the problem on this call, but the goofy rules about what is and is not a catch in the NFL. (Which, by the way, no one knows either.)

But this all goes back to replay. With our incredible technology, where we can practically count the blades of grass on the field, we can talk ourselves into almost any call if we stare at it long enough. Watch. Stop. Rewind. Watch in slow-mo. Stop. Rewind. Watch in super slow-mo. Freeze it. Zoom in. Run it again.

Over and over and over to the point that we donít even know what weíre watching anymore. Over and over and over to the point that two intelligent people can watch the exact same thing and not agree on what they are watching.

Letís just stop the madness.

Letís just go back to the way things were for a hundred years when we didnít have replay and got along just fine.

I know how we got here. Over the years, there were enough blown calls that could have easily fixed by replay. For example:

A receiver is ruled out of bounds, but replays showed he had two feet in. A fumble is called, but replays showed the running backís knee was down before he fumbled.

And because our technology is so good now, the greatest fear for any league is that 50 million people watching on television can see a guy stepped out of bounds and the only person on the planet who didnít see it was the official who made the wrong call. If the leagueís can avoid such controversy, why not do so?

But hereís my issue: Replay doesnít get it right 100 percent of the time. How many times have you watched a replay, convinced that the wrong call was made on the field and yet the call is upheld? Iíve watched replays of Jamesí catch 50 times and I still he think he caught the pass. If replay isnít going to have a 100 percent success rate then itís seriously flawed.

Proponents of replay will argue that the NFL just wants to get the call right so that the game is played fairly. So how come only certain plays can be reviewed?

Think about it. We review whether a player fumbles or is in-bounds, but we donít review things such as interference or holding or blocks in the back. Why not?

It just seems as if replay has gone too far. Take baseball and the play where a runner slides into a base and every so slightly lifts his foot off the bag. Thatís not the type of play replay was set in place to fix.

But there were are, frame-by-frame, looking for a fraction of light between a runnerís foot and the base, while making sure the dangling lace of a fielderís glove is touching a loose thread on the runnerís belt loop.

Games are already too long and weíre wasting more time looking at replays that may or may not get the call right when itís all said and done.

I say be done with it.

Besides, if we get rid of replays, we can get back to controversies and, especially in baseball, heated arguments with umpires. Whatís better than that?

If we kill replay, whatís the worst that can happen?

Well, a wrong call could be made and a team can get cheated out of a win that impacts its playoff positioning.

Then again, didnít that happen to the Steelers last week?

Comments
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