I love football, but I’m old school. If it were up to me, games would still end in ties (after four quarters), quarterbacks would be treated as if they were football players, and there would be no instant replay.
The game of football is strangled by excessive commercial timeouts and incessant instant replay reviews. Routine first down calls are now reviewed to see if the receiver’s pinky touched the turf before the ball, or if he made a “football move”, whatever that is, prior to being separated from the pigskin.
I’ve always assumed the refs call the game as straight as possible, and the blown calls even out. (But then, I’m not a bettor.)
Instant replay is a fact of life. The NFL’s new rules have choked the life out of the regular season game: the only suspense is whether pass interference penalties will outnumber roughing-the-QB flags. We find ourselves in the second quarter of game 3 reviewing ball placement with a micrometer: Is it third-and-2, or third-and-a-yard-and-a-half?
But then a monumentally consequential non-call (of both pass interference and the new-age indiscretion of “helmet-to-helmet contact”) inside the 10-yard line with mere seconds on the clock, in a conference championship game, no less, calls into question the integrity of the whole league. The refs have always tended to “let ‘em play” in playoff games, and I don’t have a problem with that. But a playoff game should at least resemble the regular season games.
And a big-market team should not get favorable calls in a big game just because they need to put butts in the skyboxes to pay for their new gazillion-dollar stadium.
But I digress.
If I were king, I would decree the following changes to instant replay and play review. Forthwith, as we royals say.
- Allow coaches’ challenges per current rules, to include pass interference and non-calls.
- Any instant replay review must be complete within 40 seconds. Beyond that, the call on the field stands.
- Most importantly, all replay reviews must be conducted with video at full speed, not slow-motion.
Slow-motion often makes the call more ambiguous, not less.
With video review at full speed, that NFC Championship non-call is reversed 100 times out of 100. No question about it.