October 27, 2003

After three years, results are inconclusive.: Brian Billick has joined ranks with Tony Dungy in turning his back on the NFL's replay system. Billick and the Ravens are a bit miffed after an apparent touchdown catch by TE Todd Heap was overruled. Do you think it works? Should it be brought back?

posted by wfrazerjr to football at 08:49 AM - 10 comments

it needs an overhaul. half the time i have no idea what the rules are regarding replay and judging by some gaffes by coaches i suspect they're not sure what is reviewable at times. the replay system has resulted in refs in a hudle after every play. refs are reluctant to make a call a lot. you see them standing around looking at eachother waiting for somebody to make a call. it has effected the refs in a bad way. i still think there's a place in the NFL for replay....but not the current set-up. i think they should do away with the coaches flags. review only those plays that a ref, who would be a part of an NFL ref squad assinged solely to replay, deem reviewable.

posted by oliver_crunk at 09:10 AM on October 27, 2003

replay "mistakes" get much more press than regular officiating errors, but i'm still willing to bet replay corrects more things than it breaks. replay allows for strict interpretation of the rulebook. every nfl fan knows what the tuck rule is because of replay. brady's fumble would have been recorded in history as a fumble if replay didn't exist....and so replay is blamed for that call, but the fact is it's a bad rule and replay only allowed the bad rule to be enforced. same with yesterday....there have been several calls this year where what looks to be an obvious catch have been called incomplete...both in the end-zone and on the sideline. (besides the heap play, a rod gardner catch comes to mind where he actually took 3 steps before being knocked out of bounds and dropping the ball when he hit the ground.) i have no idea what the rule is anymore because of these judgements. still it's not the fault of replay these judgements were made...it's the fault of the rulebook. if anything, replay should be celebrated for bringing these shortcomings of the rules to light.

posted by danostuporstar at 09:43 AM on October 27, 2003

by the way, what the heck is billick talking about here: "With the current system, I've got to expend a timeout, embarrass the officials and throw a red flag out on the field, let him go in and look at God knows what on the Internet and come out and tell me, 'I didn't get a definitive view to overrule it.'" ??? those little booths have an internet connection? they are not just looking a tv network camera angles?

posted by danostuporstar at 09:52 AM on October 27, 2003

Dano, I think Billick was sticking it to the officials a bit. "I don't know that Johnny wasn't looking at pictures of his kids in that little booth,'' Billick said last week in Cincinnati. Not nice, but funny. I think if I were a replay zebra, I would ask for this network as a perk. What else do you have to do between replays?

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:12 AM on October 27, 2003

let him go in and look at God knows what on the Internet Oh, that's why the TVs have hoods on them. "He was out! Then he was in! Then he was out! Then he was in!"

posted by dirigibleman at 10:42 AM on October 27, 2003

I think the system needs an overhaul when deciding what is and is not reviewable. Yesterday's situation with Owens' catch in the end zone ran into just such a Catch 22: he was forced out after getting one foot down in-bounds but since the on-field call did not mention the force out, the replay review could not take account of it. If the ruling on the field was force out (which from my TV angle certainly seemed to be the case), then the play could not be challenged because force out is a judgement call. Feh!

posted by billsaysthis at 12:36 PM on October 27, 2003

Why can't they just throw the red hanky, have them review it, and make the right call, regardless of the on-field call? Seems pretty frickin simple to me.

posted by garfield at 02:06 PM on October 27, 2003

Yesterday's situation with Owens' catch in the end zone It was clear without the replay that Owens had only one foot in, and that had he not been pushed the second would have come down several feet inbounds. It was a touchdown, and in this case the review system got in the way of honest judgement. Boo!

posted by eddydamascene at 02:09 PM on October 27, 2003

I say blow up the whole thing and leave it to the refs. NO REPLAY. PERIOD. It adds drama to the game. Sure there are botched calls. But that only adds to the fun and history of the game.
Like it or not, bad calls are memorable.

posted by lilnemo at 02:27 PM on October 27, 2003

Maybe instant replay should be limited to determining touchdowns? Both rugby league and rugby union have instant replay, but only for the purpose of determining whether a try has been scored or not. And in each case, it's not the coaches who call for the replay - it's the referee. I don't know why Billick is so annoyed about instant replay. By the rules of American football, Heap's "touchdown" was clearly incomplete. I called it incomplete as soon as I saw it, and I didn't need the instant replay.

posted by salmacis at 02:40 AM on October 28, 2003

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