kuech

The NFL should allow officials to review certain judgment calls

NFL replay reviews are often annoying and a little boring. They interrupt the ebb and flow of the game, which means they kind of suck.

That is until they save your team in a crucial moment. Once that happens, you take back everything you ever said about instant replay. 

The NFL and its friends in professional baseball and basketball have been slowly but surely increasing the use of replay to get calls right over the last decade, and that's a good thing. It might extend games, but it's better to get it right. 

Using that mantra, Roger Goodell and Co. have to keep the replay momentum going. 

The New England Patriots lost to the Carolina Panthers Monday night, but that might not have happened had the officials been able to review whether New England tight end Rob Gronkowski was interfered with on the final play of regulation. The play wasn't reviewable, but the majority of critics and/or analysts have since argued that the wrong call was made on the field. 

The call essentially boiled down to whether the pass was catchable. That, of course, isn't as technical as, say, a touchdown catch, which has a determined set of requirements (both feet in bounds, or one knee or elbow, no bobble, etc.). 

But why shouldn't officials have a chance to reconsider non-technical calls with the benefit of replay? Why not give them a chance to at least review crucial calls that aren't obvious, at least in important moments? We're not talking about 10-yard holding penalties or five-yard offside flags, but pass interference can be such a game-changing call, so it seems silly that we wouldn't let the officials have a second, third and fourth look when those calls are up in the air, at least in the final two minutes of each half, or maybe even just in the final five minutes of the game (and overtime). 

Another possible system could mandate that all flags that are picked up in the fourth quarter are reviewed. In other words, if an official throws a flag but then the call is disputed by one of his peers — which is what took place in Carolina — an automatic replay ensues. 

There's no reason why penalties like pass interference shouldn't qualify here. Yes, they're judgment calls, but what's wrong with an official utilizing technology in an attempt to gain my clarity on those judgments. These guys are human, so I see no reason why we force them to make split-second, real-time decisions when we have the ability to slow things down and get it right. 

What I'm saying is, judgment should be reviewable too. Why not?

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

Quantcast