The NFL owners are meeting in Arizona this week, and we are getting some news related to a variety of topics. The owners will vote on rule proposals later this week, but they already appear to have some significant thoughts about instant replay. Ian Rapoport tweeted out this statement from the competition committee:
What is the competition committee’s position on instant replay for penalties? Right here pic.twitter.com/V6iaSL0W4W— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 23, 2015
The NFL talks about not replacing subjective referee judgment with subjective replay official judgment. The problem with that is they ignore the fact that the replay official is able to review plays in slow motion, with the benefit of re-watching it over and over again. It's not even really an apples to apples comparison at that point.
The NFL suggests the foundation of instant replay was correcting potential errors on "big plays". Even if we removed smaller plays from the picture, a 50-yard pass interference call, or a personal foul that overturns a turnover strike me as kind of big plays. And yet the NFL is comfortable with a system that will clearly allow for errors that could easily be overturned. There will still be borderline penalties that cannot be overturned. That is fine. My problem is the ones that are blatantly bad calls when reviewed. We talk about, well, the refs could not see it in slow motion like that. And yet we have the technology where that is possible.
I am perfectly fine not changing the number of challenges a team can use each half. I get that reviewing everything would slow down the game. But it is entirely logical that a team should be able to challenge a big penalty call that very well could change the outcome of a game. I cannot understand how the NFL does not get this, but this is not the first time that has been the case.