Why replay reviews are the worst thing in Sports today
So, let me just start this by saying "Just because we CAN do something doesn't mean we SHOULD do it".
This cliche'/statement applies specifically to replays in sports. Why? Because not only does it undermine the game officials who had to make a split-second decision, they also spoil fans and kill the momentum of almost every single game.
Does replay clarify a questionable call in a game? Yeah, sure it does. Now that we live in a technological era where we have 4K cameras and almost every major sporting event is televised either locally or nationally, yeah, we have the ability to look closer at everything that happens during any game.
We have the ability to slow down the video, zoom in on an aspect of multiple camera angles covering most everyplace on a field or court. Yay! That's great. It gives people watching at home the opportunity to see things that happen during a game with a clarity and perspective that did not exist 30-years ago. Cool.
But like many other technical advancements there are bad things that come with the good.
First and foremost it completely undermines referees, officials, umpires or anyone overseeing a game. It means a decision they make will be altered if someone in a room a thousand miles away sees a camera angle or slow motion shot those game officials didn't have the luxury of.
At this point you might be saying: "What's wrong with that?" In theory--nothing. Sure, I get it. We all want calls to be made correctly, we want them to go in favor of our team and we're angry if they go against them. That's part of sports. It always has been.
I get it. Humans are not infallible. Things happen so fast and sometimes in the space of inches. It's not possible to be right 100% of the time on 100% of the plays. It will never happen. Missed calls have been part of sports for generations.
And yeah, there will be stretches where it seems all the close calls go against your team and it makes you angry.
I've got news for you--life is not perfect. Everyone experiences things differently.
Here's my list of grievances with replay:
--It undermines game officials: Simple. It makes your game official look bad if they miss a call. It makes them look incompetent if they miss more than one. Missing calls happen. They've happened for a hundred years. I said it earlier: Things happen so fast you can't possibly be right all the time. If you think you can do it better---give it a try. I'll bet you $1,000,000 you can't.
--It slows the games. In football it seems like we get replays roughly every 4 minutes. Particularly in the NFL where the pace of play is already glacially slow. Waiting for a call where someone catches a ball and drags their feet fractions of an inch before going out of bounds is a best guess call. If their big toe was touching the line and the ref didn't see it....well, shit happens. Don't stop the game for 10-minutes for a review.
In College Football they review every touchdown. Why? I don't understand. What purpose does that serve?
--In baseball it literally KILLS the game when we come to a stop, the umpires walk over to a dugout and put on headsets while someone in New York reviews a play.
Yeah, I know this past Sunday night my Braves got robbed on a super close play at home plate that the umpire missed. It happens. It took 10-plus minutes to make a video review and the Braves still had a chance to win the game. They didn't.
My Braves friends are still whining about this. And yeah, the ump didn't see Alec Bohm not touch the plate. Lance Barrett is a human being who was in a great position and had to make a decision on something that happened so fast it was about what he thought he saw.
Yes, that's right, umpiring or being a referee is often making calls about what you think you saw. It has to be, things happen too fast for anything else to happen. They don't have the benefit of multiple camera angles/slow motion cameras.
And, at the end of the day. This happened in the top of the 9th inning giving Philadelphia the lead. The Braves got one more turn at bat to try and tie or win the game.
All of this applies to tennis, soccer, hockey, golf or any other sport where a replay could change an outcome. It shouldn't.
I know that you can make the argument the replay gives us a chance to get it right and I understand the argument. I also disagree with it.
One of the beauty's of sport to me is the human element of thought and decision. Because of that variable, those taking part in the game will not be right 100% of the time, it's not possible.
If a missed call costs someone a game, well, it costs someone a game. That's life. It's not perfect. You are not perfect and you don't make the correct decision in everything you do. Neither do athletes, coaches or officials.
And that's alright. That's not a bad thing.
Just because we have the ability to break it down with five cameras and super-slow motion replay and change an inexact outcome doesn't mean we should.
That's a hill I'm willing to die on....