For a while there, it looked as though the implementation of a centralized replay review system for the NFL was a foregone conclusion. Why else would the league send representatives to the NHL’s “situation room” in Toronto to see how that league reviews all of its questionable calls in real-time?
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared to be on board when the competition committee met to discuss that and other key items last month, saying that “consistency is important,” and “by bringing it into the league office on Sundays and having one person actually making that decision, you can make an argument there’s consistency.”
But committee chairman Rich McKay indicated at the same time that such a system wouldn’t likely be adopted for 2014.
There’s no way that from a logistics standpoint the league can’t make this happen in time for next year, but the committee is dragging its feet.
The reality is that the NHL has had this right the whole time. The logic favors having the same sets of eyes on all games across the country, rather than exposing yourself to the subjectivity of different officials in different cities, many or all of whom are forced to conduct their reviews in less-than-ideal conditions within loud, crowded stadiums.
Think about it: The majority of time when bad calls are made and upheld by replay, everybody and their uncle knows a mistake took place. Twitter explodes and we usually have social media statements from officials-turned-media-stars such as Mike Pereira before the next snap occurred.
Taking replays out of the hands of over-burdened officials on the field should allow those obvious mistakes to be corrected on the spot. It could be an absolute game-changer.
At least the league and the competition committee are considering allowing current officiating czar Dean Blandino to oversee the process in real-time, according to Peter King of TheMMQB.com. That would be progress, but I don’t see why a usually very progressive league continues to move so slowly on implementing what should be an inevitable change.
Hopefully, the delay won’t cost anyone dearly in 2014, as it almost did the 49ers in the NFC championship game in 2013.