If you wanted a perfectly called game, you’d have to start with at least 26 officials: one for each player, one to watch for timing errors (false start, delay), two (x and y) to watch the ball, and a head ref to adjudicate the inevitable differences of opinion. Obviously, this is impractical at the present state of AI technology. Trying to do this with 26 humans would make the field ridiculously cluttered.
The present opinion of the league appears to be that they really hate replay, but have been embarrassed by the inevitable occurrence of errors, and the fact that video technology now makes some such errors blatantly obvious. While I readily agree that the present approach is better than “no replay at all”, it is apparent that the league has structured the replay methodology as a side-game, coaches against officials, with a basic intent of discouraging the use of review.
I presume the motivation of the owners for restricting review is one of two things: (1) to avoid unexpected delays in a sport which is, crucially, fitted into various network / cablecast schedules; (2) to avoid controversy about outcomes. I’d consider a third motivation, to support the authority of the officials, if we hadn’t just seen a pretty clear indication that the owners basically consider the officials a necessary evil.
I am nothing but a fan. I’m not an expert on the rules of the game. But I’ve watched Packer games, and others, on the teevee since about 1962. Even in the really old days, you could see bad calls (and non-calls) that went against us, and other bad calls (and non-calls) that favored us. It’s probably true that over a fifty year sample size, the for and against calls pretty much averaged out. (Hell, like I could remember, anyhow).
Nevertheless, there have been games (both Packer and other folks) that were decided by obviously incorrect calls. While I do subscribe to the notion that football is just a freaking game, the NFL is also a lotsa-multi-billion-dollar entertainment franchise. Seeing a lot of bad calls, especially when they influence the outcome, definitely erodes the entertainment value for me. Maybe I’m the only one, but maybe not.
Anyhow, what I’m soliciting is theories about how replay/review should be handled. I assume that the current deployment of on-field officials will not be changed, but if you have a better idea, let’s hear it.
My own best suggestion is to retain something like the current system, but permit each head coach five challenges, without the “bet-the-timeout”. The absolute worst impact on the pace of the game would be ten delays, which could easily be substituted for commercial time-outs. One could hope that there wouldn’t be more than five questionable calls each way in a game, whereas two is too easy to believe.
I would also suggest that if a review happens to reveal an obvious, but un-called, foul, that the foul should be called. Yes, Golden Tate, I’m talking about you. I would invite anyone who disagrees with me on this to explain why it’s a good idea to not punish fouls that have obviously happened.
(Sorry if this is excessively clunky. No experience).