Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I pay off the bet....

You will recall that Kevan of One Bronco Nation Under God and I had a little wager--the winner of last Saturday's game would make a post on the other's blog. Obviously, Boise wins, for which I congratulate them. That's a good program and their seem to have some great online fans....

Without further delay, here is the post Kevan has taken as his prize...

Why Instant Replay is evil

There are few things in life that I absolutely cannot stand.
1. Chris Berman.
2. Raspberry Pop-Tarts.
3. Jogging.

Add instant replay to that list, won't you?

I assume I am in the minority with my distaste of instant replay. After all, each time I attend a football game, the ignorant fans around me tend to demand replay of anything that is even borderline questionable. "It should be third and fourteen, not third and fifteen! Throw the challenge flag!" "That was totally pass interference! Challenge it!" Whatever happened to the good old days of heaping blame and vitriol on the officials without any chance of retribution?

I miss those days.

Of course, everyone and their mother will say that instant replay is necessary because we should be doing anything we can to preserve the integrity of the game and to ensure fairness and equality for all teams involved. And to that I say, "Pfffffft." If placing control into the hands of officials whom we don't trust in the first place is a good idea, then I am even more out of touch than I thought.

The problems I have with the system are numerous, but let me try to explain at least a couple of them.

First, instant replay is not necessary. Officials had been making calls on their own accord for years, and we let a stupid Vinny Testaverde helmet touchdown interfere with our Luddite sports world. Shame on us. If you look at the totality of any football game, you will find that officials are right about 99 percent of the time. That is remarkable! If I was correct on anything 99 percent of the time, I probably wouldn't have flamed out of college and wound up blogging.

Even more alarming is that our efforts to control that one percent error rate are ultimately damaging to the officials' results. We have created paranoid zebras who swallow their whistles and call the game nervously, always at the mercy of the replay booth. Being a football official must be like being on a horrible, seventh circle of hell episode of Big Brother where your every move is scrutinized and Ed Hochuli is always hogging the lat bar.

I could go on for days about this point, but there's much more to get to ... like how instant replay does not solve problems. In fact, it seems to create more problems. Though the system was created to remove doubt, it has failed miserably on those intentions. No matter how slow you show a replay or how many different angles you can find, people will still disagree on what the right call should be. How does that help anything? If I see a fumble, my dad sees a catch, and the referee sees an incompletion, who is happy about that?

Instant replay was designed to take the human element out of important, game-changing decisions. But until footballs are equipped with sonar and hashmarks are painted with sensors, humans are still going to be involved. And that really peeves Norv Turner.

Third, instant replay changes the way you watch the game. It gives fans one more excuse on how to pass the buck if their team loses. When they're not screaming for it at inopportune times during the game, fans are whining about it afterwards as if video replay was responsible for Todd Boeckman sucking it up royally. Whatever lets you sleep better at night, I guess.

And there's the rub. We have instant replay because it makes us feel better. Stopping the game to freeze-frame a fumble makes us feel that there is justice in this world and that the voice of fans and second-guessers everywhere has been heard.

And then the referee says that the call on the field stands and we call for blood. If that's what we wanted when we brought instant replay upon ourselves, then it is doing its job. If that wasn't the goal, then I'd like to go back to the way things were, thanks.

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