At next week’s NFL Annual Meeting, rule change proposals will be a major source of discussion and debate. Many of the proposals revolve around amending the current instant replay review system – whether or not penalties and other plays that currently aren’t subject to review or coaches’ challenges should be allowed.
One aspect of replay that hasn’t been proposed, however, has to do with the replay videos themselves. At the moment, slow-motion video is part of the review process, but today, we’re arguing whether or not the replays should be in full-speed only.
Andy Hart says, “Yes!”
Replay – in all sports -- was always intended to fix egregious officiating errors, not to break down “close” calls on a frame-by-frame basis. If you need to see something at super-slow speed or require the video be stopped altogether to come to a conclusion, then it wasn’t an overly terrible call to begin with. There is and always will be room for human error and debate in sports.
Utilizing real-speed replay – for any call or play at any time – would ensure that horrific mistakes are fixed. But, knowing that the review will take place at real speed would eliminate the tick-tack reviews that ruin the flow of games. The NFL should expand replay to all plays, including penalties, but simultaneously turn to real-speed reviews. Blown calls – like the one in the NFC title game – would be made right.
While there might be a transition period needed for fans, media and participants to get used to the new world of real-speed replay, in the end it would fix the system. And it wouldn’t just work in football, it would be perfect for all sports.
Erik Scalavino says, “No!”
The whole purpose of instant replay is to correct a ruling that was wrong, or to confirm one that was called correctly. The reason there’s uncertainty sometimes is because plays happen so fast, it’s impossible to determine what actually happened.
As a result, it’s imperative to be able to go back and slow down the action to get a proper view of the play in question, from every available angle. The only way to “get it right” is to dissect the play in question frame by frame so we can examine the minutest of details. If we could only watch replays at full speed, we might never have had Julian Edelman’s famous catch in Super Bowl LI confirmed and the Patriots might not have completed the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
No, slow-motion is necessary if we want to do this properly. In that respect, no change is warranted.