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NFL And Instant Replay — An Endless Struggle To Simply Get Calls On The Field Right

The more things stay the same, the less they change The NFL, which always had an iffy relationship with instant replay as an officiating tool – replay vanished from...

The more things stay the same, the less they change

The NFL, which always had an iffy relationship with instant replay as an officiating tool – replay vanished from 1992-98 after surviving only on a year-to-year vote by team owners for years – is still tussling with the same basic issue: How do we get calls right on the field?

The impetus for change at this spring’s NFL meetings underway in Phoenix comes from the NFC championship game in January, when an egregious pass interference infraction and helmet-to-helmet contact both went uncalled, helping the Los Angeles Rams defeat the New Orleans Saints and advance to the Super Bowl.

The Rams defensive player, Nickell Robey-Coleman, copped to the offenses after the game and was later fined by the NFL, which also admitted privately to the Saints what anybody with eyeballs had seen – two missed penalties. Anyone have a problem with the NFL fining players over offenses that were missed on the field but seen on tape, while making no effort to fix the system that perpetuates in-game errors?

Now the NFL is hard at work in the desert not fixing its most obvious woe. Its competition committee has looked at some possible options to expand replay, but nothing would deal with what we saw that evening in New Orleans – a botched call that was a game-changer.

Meetings, meetings, meetings. Ideas, ideas, ideas. And no solutions.

“If we can’t fix what the fans saw in New Orleans … ” Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians started to say to USA Today before letting the words trail off.

Getting it wrong and not trying to fix it speaks to the integrity of the game. Blown calls can decide outcomes. They may lead to coaching jobs lost and teams appearing in the Super Bowl without truly earning it.

And yet the NFL, looking for leadership on this issue, seems to be getting very little.

Hey, NFL. Something’s broken. Can you please fix it?

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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