There’s and obvious relationship between advances in technology and its effect on football games. The first instant replay machine was built and used by Tony Verna at an Army-Navy football game on December 7th, 1963 (The Denver Post). It took him a while to set up and get running properly, but eventually he got the machine to replay a touchdown by Army’s quarterback. They replayed the play on television for the viewers at home and everyone was confused. The commentators of the game had to convince the audience that Army had not scored a second time and that it was just a replay of the first one. The crowd had never experienced something like that before.
These days we have multiple high definition and slow motion cameras that roam the sidelines and the skies to get all and every view of the game. For one thing, these cameras not only get the best view of the game for optimal viewing at home. But another reason why we value our cameras and replays so much is to see the plays closer and make the harder, more difficult calls that the refs couldn’t see in person. The benefits are obvious. The refs, no matter how well trained and experienced they are, are only human. Football is such a fast paced, spontaneous game that the ref could miss something with the blink of an eye or a bad angle on the ball. How do we fix that? We put eyes on the ball at all times using cameras that don’t blink.
There are some problems with instant replays however. The rules for instant replays in NCAA football in particular are quite extensive. There is a 55-page casebook specifically on the rules and regulations of instant replays in NCAA football. You can take a look at the rule book by clicking on the picture of it.
The guys up the booth review almost every possible controversial play. They review every touchdown, every fumble, ever interception…. basically everything. Too many times in a game will the referee stop the clock and say, “The previous play is under review.” Those six words have the incredible ability of absolutely KILLING the momentum of the game. Time spent on instant replays can add up to a half hour of looking back on old plays.
Photo Courtesy of Sportschump.net
Photo Courtesy of Steelersfever.com
I think we need to put our faith back in the referees. We can review the extremely important plays, but as soon as we stop the clock every other play to look over something, the game looses its fluidity. It looses its tempo. The game slows down, the players slow down, and the crowd gets bored. All we want to do is watch football. I want to see the next play, and the next play, and the next play. I don’t want to see the last play ten times in a row. Former NFL referee says, “There is not a sports official around who wants to leave a field, court or rink thinking they didn’t get it right. If you give them a tool that allows them to get it right, that’s what they want” (The Denver Post). I understand where he is coming from. But I am willing to put my trust in the referees of the game if that means watching a more exciting and fluent game.
Knowing some of the Pros and Cons, what do you think about instant replay? Is it good? Is it bad? Do we use it too much?