Today the outcome of a yet another sporting event was almost detrimentally impacted by the fact that the refs got it wrong and replay CLEARLY showed they got it wrong. The refs in the Browns game called the game-tying field goal "not good" before re-re-convening and getting it right. Now this whole process would have been a lot easier had the refs been allowed review the television replay but for some unknown reason the rules do not allow it (the ref did go over to the replay booth and did talk to someone but the increasingly shady NFL officials insist that no one informed the ref of the right call before he miraculously changed the call on the field). The fact that the rules do not allow this review is clearly a MAJOR oversight and could've been disastrous for the potentially playoff bound Browns (especially considering that one win will likely determine whether or not the Browns get in the playoffs for the first time in recorded history). And despite the fact that the right call was eventually made, the idea that the right call was available but was beyond the reach of the officials is completely absurd. And coming on the heels of a baseball season where several major calls in the playoffs were shown by replay to be at the very least questionable but were unable to be corrected because baseball has no replay, it seems about time that something is done to fix replay once and for all. And I think I have the simple solution.
The two arguments generally put forth by opponents of replay are that the games will take too long and that they don't want to over-review and take away the some of the subjectivity (balls and strikes in baseball and calls like holding or pass interference in football). Let me take a moment to respond to those people: shut the fuck up. The games are long as it is and the idea that we can't implement replay because we don't want to extend the game 10 minutes in order to get things right strikes me as a weak argument. I'd sit through an extra hour if it meant I wasn't going to go home and watch how my team got fucked by a "foul ball" that was really a home run. And in response to the second argument, if the call requires any degree of subjective assessment, it would be beyond the purview of the my replay philosophy. So you wanna hear my replay system? Here goes:
If the call could be changed through objective replay assessment, it will be subject to review. If a call requires someone to subject it to an assessment of "degrees" (I'll explain this in a minute), it is beyond my replay system's scope. The review process would be a 3 person team of replay officials in the booth and vote of 2 out of 3 would carry the day. The booth's entire responsibility is to review plays and EVERY PLAY WOULD BE SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND COULD BE CHANGED BY THE BOOTH BEFORE THE NEXT PLAY/PITCH/WHATEVER. They will have no longer than 1 minute to make their decision under any circumstances. The review booth would be in constant contact with the officials on the field and on close plays they will alert the field/court/ice officials immediately that the play is under review and play would be delayed as deemed necessary to make the review.
That's it. That's the whole kit and kaboodle. And this would apply to every sport and every situation. The part about "degrees" could best be described as this: If the call requires an official to make a judgment call, then it can't be reviewed. There are things like holding in football or the difference between a charge and a block in basketball. Other penalties would be subject to review. Plays like offsides (in NFL and NHL) and delay of game in NFL as well as goaltending in basketball would all be subject to review. With balls and strikes, I just find it more practical and fun that there be no fixed "zone" determined by CPUS. I like that it requires the players to adjust to the ump's zone. But other than balls and strikes, pretty much everything else is fair game. So a baseball hit down the line the hops third base, reviewed. A punt that goes airborne out of bounds, reviewed and spotted correctly. An NBA player has his feet in the "no charge" circle but gets called for a charge, reviewed. A hockey player... well, no one gives a shit. If the call is in anyway questionable, it will be subject to review and we will get it right or at least more right than it was on the field. I don't understand why this can't happen.
Lastly, I get that old people aren't fans of change and old people are running these sports, making these calls and writing about all of it. I know these new contraptions are scary and the kids with their Ipods and their internets and pocket phones are disrespectful and no one appreciates the good ol' days. I get that holding onto your outdated and impractical modes of operating represents a bygone era that you long for and complain about over a 4pm prime rib and 9% tip. I get all of that. But the problem is that the technology is available and the door was already opened for replay review years ago. We at home sit back and see you old fucks fuck it up on the field in crystal clear HDTV no less. You've opened the door for some of it to be fixed, why not fix the rest of it. I'll happily wait the extra ten minutes.