And yet, those who swear by video replay, seem to back it even more despite this debacle. Hell, on my own show this morning, colleague Scott Linn got extremely agitated when I prodded him to admit the obvioius: “Replay failed.”
He couldn’t say it. Wouldn’t. Got angry when I pressed him. “Replay” didn’t fail, the dummies watching it, they did.
It’s a distinction I simply don’t understand. Until somebody invents a computer to determine if a player had “completed the process of the catch” (good luck with THAT coding nightmare!) then there will always be a need for imperfect human eyes.
And no matter how smart, how handsome, and how brave you find for a replay official (think Dean Blandino, with six pack abs and a Corvette Stingray) he will still make mistakes.
Or, better yet: he will make decisions that LOOK like mistakes, to at least half the football watching population.
I don’t know what will happen once that ACC crew comes off it’s 2 week suspension. Are they going to be less stupid now? How could they have allowed that travesty to happen in the first place? Until I hear all of the tapes between the field ref and the replay assistant (they DO record those conversations, right? If just for “training purposes only” as they say…) I wouldn’t feel comfortable letting these drunken chimps back on a field with stripes and a lanyard.
Otherwise it’s an Ace Rothstein to the County Commissioner situation all over again.
“I’m sorry, but he knew about our getting hit on three big machines in a row and he did nothing about it. That means to me, he was either in on it – or forgive me for saying this – or he was too dumb to see what was going on. Either way, I cannot have a man like that working here.”
This episode only reaffirms my position that virtually all replay, in all sports, is a waste of time at best, and creates various other conflicts of intent, or outright mayhemm at worst. (See, Saturday night). There is the real-time, on the field judgement call of the refs. And then there’s another layer of much slower, tedious judgement by somebody you never see upstairs.
But it’s all judgement! There IS no black and white. Short of the cyclops machine in tennis, nothing in football is purely “binary” in nature. With enough frames per second, and enough angles, you might even see the Virgin Mary in a red-flag challenge.
If I were King Baldo I of sports, I’d round up all the machines and push them off a bridge into a deep and fast moving river.
We now “see” things, that were never meant to be seen. Things that blur “reality” and have leagues and officials scrambling to achieve a pixel-pure perfection that is comically unattainable.
Cameras now see a single pellet of infill from artificial turf if it flies in the air on a toe scrape. What happens when we can see if that single rubber pellet was actually sucked into the air by the nearby whoosh of a shoe, and not contact?
The quality of imaging tech these days is staggering. In our pockets sit phones (phones!) capable of 1080p HD video that records in 120 frames per second! This was barely available to NETWORK television just 15 years ago.
The ability to see more and more, is creating a concurrent need to more specifically codify and classify every possible action, in a sport that has virtually no limits on hypothetical player-ball-field interactions. It’s why the NFL has to write it’s rule book on a dry-erase board these days, because today’s outrage over “isn’t THAT a catch?” demands clarifications and addendums.
All of this time wasting, teeth-gnashing nonsense, while the league says with a pleasant bureaucrat smile, “we’re just trying to get the call right” and “we want the rules to be as unambiguous as possible.”
And yet the bad calls, the botched replays, the unintended consequences are picking up steam, not slowing down. Fans are more unhappy than ever. And some people think this is “working?”
This wormhole is bottomless people. Time to turn around and accept imperfection.