Monday, January 11, 2010

Big Brother, Where Art Thou? (Part Two)

I wrote an article a few months ago laying out why baseball should be controlled, in nearly all forms, by a review booth. Balls and strikes, home runs, everything. And after the horrid refereeing during Sunday's Packers/Cardinals game, it got me thinking: should football be controlled from the eye in the sky as well?

The answer is yes. And no. Let me explain. Here's what I wrote in terms of baseball:

How about every call is booth reviewed? Every ball, every strike, every close call. If TBS can install a strike zone during its telecast, why can't the MLB? It's easy: someone upstairs watches the pitch using the boxed strike zone, hits a button that signals a remote to the home plate umpire (like where the little box used to keep track of balls and strikes would be), and then the ump signals ball or strike. There would be a one second delay for every call, which would be virtually undetectable. Hell, you could do it right now without telling anybody and not one fan could tell the difference.

In theory, I guess you could use the same buzzer system, but with every penalty being called with a delayed flag, questions would be raised about the honesty of the reviewers. The reason it works in baseball is because we know when the calls will be made. Balls and strikes come at the same time, and we know exactly when. Holding, pass interference and just about every other call in football doesn't have the same timetable. Nothing has to be called. Sure, we'll expect some calls that are blatant (like the missed calls in the Packers game), but not all. This matters.

Because of this difference, the reviewer (or more accurately, reviewers) would have to watch the entire game in real time, like a referee with laser eyes. But that doesn't do a whole hell of a lot, because actual refs don't miss a whole hell of a lot. What they do miss is usually the consequence of the game being too fast, which would be the same problem a review booth would have if used in real time. What makes the booth effective now is that the game stops and they get to see multiple angles in slow motion.

So you really couldn't use it the same way baseball can. Football can, however, use it the second way I proposed:

With fair or foul calls, and calls at the bases, let the umps do their thing. There is ample time in between the call and the next pitch for someone in the booth the review it. If the call is wrong, they can just buzz the umpire. It would add what, one minute to each game? So be it.

This part would work. At the end of every play, as well as while the play is actually happening, the booth can go through things and see if anything was missed. Buzz the ref, throw the flag.

You need the human refs out there to make the calls and stop Albert Haynesworth from going American History X on guys, so there's no reason to scrap them altogether. Oh, and if you think this is going to slow things down, then you would have to admit that there are a lot of missed calls throughout a game. I'm talking over ten penalties, in which case we obviously need this.

I'm really tired of these hugely important games being affected by bad officiating. If someone can explain to me why the system we have now is the best available, please tell me. Then tell the Green Bay Packers fans.


Jeff said...

Hmmmm..getting it right. That's IS the objective...right? We have the technology..why not?

On that subject, I have always wondered how easy it would be to replace the antiquated "First Down Chains" with some laser technology. It's got to be an easy thing to do. It would speed the game up too. Just wondering.

J Fish said...

They tried that back in 2003. It cost too much, like $500,000 per laser and $10,000 per bulb. It's all about that money.

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