Instant Replay Essay, Research Paper
The NFL can vote to keep instant replay out of the game every year, but the owners will never get rid of it. That’s because like it or not, the NFL has instant replay. It comes courtesy of television and Jumbotron. And it’s leaving the leagues officials vulnerable to widespread and immediate second-guessing from fans, coaches and players a net inside every stadium. The officials, in a matter speaking, are left working without.
Seemingly on the verge of returning instant replay to the game earlier in the week, the owners at their annual meetings rejected the plan on Wednesday by three votes. The problem: Each time a coach challenged a call and requested a replay, it costs the team a timeout- no matter if the call is reversed. “We have on of the best games in the world,” said Raiders owner Al Davis, “We have 3 timeouts in the first half, 3 in the second, and that’s the way it has been forever. I don’t want instant replay to compromise that”.
Instant replay failed the first time for four main reasons:
? The decision was not made by the officials on the field.
? It took too long for the plays to be reviewed and created too much dead air time that lengthened the game.
? Because of the dead airtime it lead to the announcers having to much free time and running the whole procedure into the ground. Many times I heard the announcers berating the replay official in the booth and how he was trying to see a 9″ inch monitor. They even used telestraitors to point things out. They even started playing Jeopardy music and basically made a farce out of the whole process.
? Too many plays were reviewed
Obviously, they are not going to prohibit the showing of replays inside the stadium on those huge screens that hang over the crowd and the officials that cause so much controversy. Even if the did, enough serious fans carry portable TVs with them in the stands. They can see the network replays and listen to some coach-turned-analyst gripe that the coach on the field shouldn’t be expected to live with such horrible, amateurish calls . So officials will have to live with it, like they do in other sports.
With the history of a first failed attempt in the way and the fact that coaches will not give up a timeout to challenge a call, the league is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Without giving up a timeout the game will run too long, as it did before, and they know they can’t give free reign to challenge every call. What the league must do is simple. First, keep instant replay out of the game and end this debate. Let the human element decide the outcome. The tight end who drops the ball in the end zone doesn’t get a second chance. Why should the official?
We’ve seen what happened when officials had big brother watching. They became tentative. They also were involved in a good number of calls which couldn’t be conclusively determined from a replay. The game was delayed by the review.
Second, the league must make officials full-time employees. The money it spends on the gaudy commissioner’s party at the Super Bowl could probably pay for all the salaries. Right now, officials, according to the NFL, receive roughly from $1,600 to $4,000 a game, depended on length of service. Pay them a realistic annual wage so that no coach can complain that a high school assistant principal kept him out of the playoffs.
It won’t be cheap, not when benefits are included. But we are long past the days when players needed to work in the offseason. The arbiters of the game should past that point as well.
The other major professional leagues-baseball and basketball-have full-time officials. “Pro” football should be no different. There is a full six months for officials to work in football, starting with training camps in July and going to the end of December-and that’s not counting those chosen for the playoffs.
In the spring, they could attend minicamps held by teams. In the season, they could even work practices or spend the week reviewing film and increasing their grip on the rules. Heck, let them be involved in league charity work or run an off-season school for young officials who want to be in the NFL. There really is plenty for them to do.
Admittedly, hiring-full time officials won’t mean every call is correct. Humans make errors. But a commitment to officiating will be a commitment to credibility. The players and coaches are professionals. Why aren’t the officials? Perhaps if they were the question of instant replay would go away ???