LET’S COME TO A DISAGREEMENT: EXPANDING REPLAY REVIEW

November 11, 2015
M-SportsFans

SHOULD JUDGMENT CALLS/PENALTIES BE SUBJECT TO REPLAY REVIEW IN FOOTBALL?

STEPHEN KENNEY
Judgment calls are still based upon perception, and a second look will often change our perception.  I might say that a receiver went out of bounds voluntarily because of what I saw.  A replay might show me something I did not see Thus my judgment would change based upon what I saw.

I do not believe “judgment calls” should be reversed based upon anything other than changed perception.  “I thought he went out of bounds intentionally but on replay, I see the shove” v. “I thought he went out of bounds intentionally, but the more I think about it….”
NICHOLAS PATRICK
Nearly all calls should be subject to replay review in football, including most judgment calls and penalties. Expanding replay in this way raises two main concerns, but both concerns are easily tempered:
1. Expansion of replay will lead to an excessive number of stoppages in play

As long as the NFL continues to limit the number of challenges allowed, this shouldn’t be a concern. This type of system (expanded replay with limited challenges) would, however, add pressure for coaches to make tough choices regarding challenges, but that’s not necessarily good or bad.

2. Replay review is not conducive to making judgment calls, which are too subjective

The NFL trusts referees to make judgment calls all the time during live action. Why shouldn’t they trust referees to make judgment calls during replay reviews? I understand that many calls are open to interpretation – that one could watch a replay dozens of times and still not be certain of the appropriate ruling – but the NFL can eliminate this concern by simply maintaining its high standard of proof (“indisputable visual evidence”).

And let’s not pretend that judgment calls/penalties are the only calls open to interpretation. One supposedly straightforward call in particular – determining whether a pass/catch is complete – has proven to be far more difficult to interpret than a number of judgment calls/penalties.

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