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When You Control YouTube, You Control...Affirmation...

Josh Levin in Slate, on Referee Hell, or "The Zapruder Film for Sports Junkies" - you know it as YouTube:

The sports scapegoat video takes many forms. There's the long compilation of grievances, as in the above Super Bowl clip and this reel from last month's controversial (to my Louisianan eyes) Auburn-LSU football game. Some beleaguered fans need only to upload a few seconds of offending footage. After last Sunday's Bengals-Bucs contest, angry Cincinnati fans could watch a four-second clip entitled, "This is roughing the passer?" The answer: obviously not.
The obsessions of YouTube's amateur sports videographers can be seen most clearly in the videos of September's Oregon-Oklahoma game. The Ducks won, you might recall, after a replay official erroneously ruled that Oregon recovered a late-game onside kick. The ref who made that call says he has gotten threatening phone calls. More civilized fans have thrown themselves into making YouTube Zapruder films that show the kick in spot-shadow and slow-motion from every possible angle. My favorite of these videos is a 40-second-long item called "Oregon Didnt Even Recover Onside Kick." Eleven seconds in, the screen goes dark, save for a spotlight on an Oklahoma player. "WATCH #23 RECOVER THE BALL," the on-screen text implores. I watch Oklahoma's #23 recover the ball. It must suck to be an Oklahoma fan.

What was so amazing about "Oregon Didn't Even Recover the Onside Kick" was that it so clearly showed an error so much more crucial and impossible to get wrong than who or when the kick was touched, and the neither television crew nor highlight shows immediately after the game recognized that Oklahoma had actually recovered the ball. TV announcers initially recognized it, and said "Well, hey, Oklahoma has the ball," then dropped it and didn't mention it again, instead focusing only on the early touch on the kick. It took a YouTube clip to show that nobody had even bothered to confirm which team had recovered the ball before it was awarded to Oregon. Where else have you ever seen a recovery blatantly awarded to the wrong team, anywhere? So even if the refs do get a bum rap in general, SMQ says "Go YouTube. Keep 'em straight out there."

If we delay the review a little longer, we can probably catch it on YouTube first...