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Stick a fork in replay reviews and challenges

Its time for professional and college sports to step back in time.  

We need to return to the days when instant replay was for just for viewers at home and not used to correct officiating errors.  I don’t mean to sound like a 54 year old guy shouting “get off my lawn”,  because I was a replay proponent.  I was in favor of using technology to eliminate glaring and potentially outcome changing mistakes in a game but replay reviews are now hurting sports.  

There are too many of them and they take far too long.  I’ve been headed in that direction for quite some time now and I think the Sabres game in Dallas last week was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  I’ll get back to that in a moment.

Generally speaking, there are enough stoppages in the games these days due to team timeouts(and there are way too many of those allowed), media timeouts and injury timeouts.  Replays are just another reason to bring the game to a grinding halt.

 Tell me you don’t get frustrated every time you see a replay review or challenge is coming.  You probably turn the channel thinking this will take a few minutes so let me see what else is going on and then I’ll be back.  

Whatever happened to time limits for reviews?  Isn’t there supposed to be a 90 second limit on these things?  I really don’t need to spend my time looking at a shot of an NFL referee under a hood, a college referee, baseball umpires and NHL officials on head sets, or basketball officials looking at a court side monitor for what seems to be an interminable length of time.

One of the reasons why replay reviews are killing the games is the expansion of what is reviewable.  More instances are now subject to review than ever before and we’ve added coach/manager challenges to provide additional stoppages. 

Baseball is the one sport where we aren’t supposed to think about time, right?  There is no game clock.  Last spring I went to see the Mets play a game in Cleveland and there were three stoppages for a review or challenge in the first two innings.  If the commissioner was sitting next to me, I would have told him enough of this, let’s just play the damn game!

I mentioned the Sabres game in Dallas which was the poster child for abolishing replay reviews and challenges.  How about the review on the shot by Sam Reinhart.  We couldn’t see the puck enter the net but lo and behold it was there after the Stars goalie got up.  It felt like they could have played an entire period in the time it took the NHL to review the play and make a decision.  Maybe they thought it was game six of a Stanley Cup final series?

By the way, it still seems odd that a sport where scoring has been at its lowest level in 20 years over the last few seasons, felt the need to put in a challenge/review system to take a goal off the scoreboard.

In addition, replay reviews and challenges have led to fans who aren’t sure whether to celebrate or not.  The Sabres scored a goal but wait, was it offside?  Was there goalie interference?  My beloved Mets just scored, hurray!  But wait, it was a close play at the plate so I have to sweat out multiple angles and a possible challenge.

Then there’s the NFL where you might want to hold off celebrating a touchdown, a takeaway  or just a catch for a first down.

I began watching sports in the 1970’s( yes they had TV that far back and in color too) when we lived with the human element in officiating.  For sure there were mistakes and yes, you would see them at home thanks to instant replay.  But while technological advancements are usually a good thing, it is now trending in the other direction when it comes to the use of replays and reviews in sports.  I doubt you can put the genie back in the bottle but I’m ready to do it.

01/31/2017 4:08PM
Stick a fork in replay reviews and challenges
Please enter your comments below.
01/31/2017 4:31PM
Get the calls right
The replays reviews are there to make sure the right call is made. No mistakes that can cost a team a game.
01/31/2017 6:11PM
01/31/2017 6:17PM
Completely Wrong Guy!
Concurrently make the game better and the review process more efficient. Should allow coaches a limited number of challenges on any type play... especially pass interference, which is now brutally called. Don't go BACKWARDS. Fans will not tolerate it.
01/31/2017 6:58PM
No Turning Back Sadly........
While I agree with everything you are saying Howard, I don't see it changing very much unless TV ratings drop. I do exactly what you said about surfing channels: Many times I end up losing interest in a game because I have found something better to watch. Reviews and challenges have ruined sports but nothing will change unless TV ratings and revenue drop enough to make the money people uncomfortable.
01/31/2017 10:39PM
Who in the hell cares anyway.
Hey if you want to win in this league, than do what other teams do. Give them a bribe or pay them off that's how you make the playoffs and the super-bowl. Because these sorry a$$ ref's want to get paid just like the players and coaches.
01/31/2017 11:31PM
Especially in basbeall
I have to agree, and I'm 54 year old Mets fan who has been watching sports since the 70's also, and I am yelling , not get off my lawn, but PLAY BALL..Even with Gary Keith & Ron, baseball doesn't need to be slowed down any more than it already is. The officiating mistakes in baseball seem a LOT more common than they were just a few years ago. Football has always been bad, but somehow baseball umps usually managed to get it right, amazingly so..but no more. So we are probably stuck with replay..ugh.
02/01/2017 12:35AM
..creeping into, or has reared it's ugly head in Hockey and in MLB. The damage may be irreparable in The NFL, as I have not, nor have many people, bothered to view the league anymore because of chronic delays. Keep it as minimal as possible, and for critical junctures in critical games. And yes, I switch channels also because I have little worry that I'll miss much action my doing so.
02/01/2017 2:56AM
Human element???
With today's technology human element should only be with the players making plays. Things like ball position and puck position in relation to scoring lines, and out of bounds could easily be dealt with. Knowing if the puck is over the line is well within the technology available today. Inconclusive should not be a human element in officiating.
02/01/2017 6:23AM
at the very least
... any replay should be at live speed, the game is played in real-time not slow motion stop action. Let any review official call the play using all available angles at the speed that on-field officials face. If all plays are "reviewable", they might as well play the game Saturday night; screen the tape for errors and broadcast an edited version Sunday afternoon. If they keep the current rules in place, at least make the coaches challenge before the replay is shown on the jumbotron... that's the time limit that should be in-place.
02/01/2017 8:42AM
As a member of your generation, I agree. One of the pleasures of watching Division III sports live is that there are none of those stoppages, no tv timeouts, etc. It's just the game. One suggestion for the NFL: since all games are reviewed anyway by the league offices in order to rate the officials, you could easily implement some compensation for any teams that got the short end of the stick on important calls during the season. (Why do the Bills come to mind?) The team that rates the officials could keep a simple tally of egregiously bad calls, and give them some type of weighted scoring. For example, 3 points if the refs blew the call on a scoring play, 2 points for a play in the red zone, 1 point for any other blown call. The team with the most points at the end of the season would get a compensatory draft pick at the end of the first round. The team with the second most points would get a compensatory pick at the end of the second round, etc., through the seven rounds. It wouldn't change the outcome of the games, but it would give some sense of justice to teams that bore the brunt of the bad calls.
02/01/2017 12:25PM
Your opinions are bad, and you should feel bad.
Why even bother playing the game if we aren't going to get calls correct?! Especially regarding football. If anything, I say we need to eliminate some of the officials, and limit the power of the remaining ones; then surround the field with dozens of cameras that are constantly and instantaneously being monitored by centralized review crews. It would streamline the review process, making each review take substantially less time, while also increasing the accuracy rate of the calls.
02/01/2017 3:31PM
Mr Baldman do you retire ?
02/01/2017 8:12PM
I totally agree
I knew it would be a fiasco when they went to instant replay. It did not improve the game and it seems even the replay gets the call wrong. Leave the game on the field to decide the outcome.
02/02/2017 10:25AM
Get Rid of Replay
I don't like replay in any sport. Just when you thought baseball couldn't get any longer or more boring to watch, they add replay to slow things down further. In football I think it's just a good excuse for a commercial break. Like they need more of those. Hockey seems even more bizarre. The play can continue for another minute or so and then we go back to replay to see if there's goalie interference or offsides. It seems like the officials are using these as a crutch. If they don't get the call right, oh well, it can always be replayed. In any of these sports, just make the call to the best of your ability. Let's get some continuity back in the games.
02/03/2017 10:49AM
Agreed Howard - Hate the Coach's Challenges
But they don't need to speed the NHL games up. I hate the hurry up faceoffs - you can't even get to your seat before they drop the puck and then you block someone's view...
02/04/2017 11:26AM
wrong thinking
Do you know how many of the plays that video corrected there have been since they began using it? I know of many plays that were "corrected" and play went on without much fanfare. If not for using video replay we would have had the fans complaining about more often over "blown calls" that they would see on their TV. The system can also strive for a better system but getting rid of it is not the answer.
02/06/2017 1:15PM
I disagree with completely removing, but agree there are too many and too long
Actually, have the same number of reviews but put a time clock on the actual review. If you can't determine it withing that time then it is inconclusive. Should fix everything.
02/11/2017 6:07PM
You are sooooo right
I find myself not knowing when/if I should celebrate!! And that just takes the joy out of the game Heck the players make mistakes let the refs be allowed that right. And arguing about blown calls is still a lot of fun And please remember it is only agame!!!
02/12/2017 12:03PM
I agree it flawed
What is also flawed is media coverage that is too adolescent to accept the way things were. They literally championed the review from their perches in the press box where they routinely criticize refs, coaches and players as though they could do any of those tasks better. I get more out of watching a game with the sound off.
02/13/2017 9:20PM
a suggestion
how about NO AUTOMATIC reviews , only a limited number of coaches challenges say 3, BUT they can challenge pretty much anything, Pass interference for example. Then when/if to ask for a review becomes a strategy for the coach. clearly you need to avoid challenges of offensive holding and the like as that call can be made on almost any play BUT hey with a little tweaking this might be a fun solution.
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Are you sold on Robin Lehner as the Sabres #1 goalie?
  Yes. His play the last 2 months has sold me.
  Not yet. I need to see him play well/stay healthy the rest of the season.
  No. He's not the answer. I wouldn't re-sign him.
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