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Replay Under Review

Via The Wiz, The L.A. Times reports only about a quarter of plays reviewed nationwide this season were reversed. Which brings SMQ back to his old replay complaint: why are so many plays stopped by the replay official, who plays an integral role in the eventual decision, when he has already watched the replay and made some determination on its outcome, if they aren't going to be overturned? According to this, the NFL system - in which coaches challenge plays blind - has a greater overturn rate (roughly 33 percent) than the one in which the person who makes the determination a review is necessary is also one of the key persons in the final decision. Does that make any sense?

The article pounds home the imperfectability of the system, the variances in technology across conferences and the myriad rules - like un-reversible calls, including, for instance, which team recovers a fumble or onside kick - which SMQ could accept being responsible for maybe 20-25 percent of calls being upheld. A few more close ones (a critical fumble in the Clemson-Virginia Tech game comes to mind) are probably worth a second look that could go either way. But at worst, the overturn rate in the college system shouldn't dip below 50 percent. At twenty-five percent, isn't that a sign that way, way too many obvious plays are being singled out for unnecessary review? The coaches' challenge system results in fewer, and, because of the strategic nature of timeouts at stake, more important calls. There's no incentive now for the college system to avoid a stoppage, and three-quarters of them have no effect.

Who dares question his judgment?

What has been worst about replay is the indecision of on-field crews, who have taken occasionally to huddling before making calls, and the inconsistency of post-replay decisions, which sometimes (as in the case of the aforementioned Clemson-V-Tech fumble) result in commentators and likely viewers as well reaching a unanimous decision, only to have the official return to conclude the video showed indisputably the exact opposite.