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Time to Reform NFL Instant Replay

Photo by Larry French, Getty Images

After some controversy following Sunday’s marquee Giants v. Packers game, I have come up with a solution to reform NFL instant replay.

Since its existence, the NFL replay system has taken place at each and every individual field site on game day. The NFL has no central authoritative structure to control instant replay quality and decision-making at its sites during any given game.

At each stadium as you know by now, the referee communicates with the replay official up in the press box booth at the stadium. They rely on the feed provided to them right at the site. Other major sport leagues such as the NHL and MLB have their replay system funneled right to a central location. For the NHL, their replay war room is at their headquarters in Toronto, ON. For MLB their replay occurs at a central site as well.

I think it’s time for the NFL to take a page out of the NHL and MLB to move to a centrally-located replay system. This system will allow communication to an authoritative officiating figure back at headquarters, and better replay quality for the officials on-site. I am NOT saying the current system is broke, but I am saying that the quality and efficiency is not as high as it should be.

The controversy in Sunday’s Green Bay Packers, New York Giants game came from an end zone catch in the corner of the end zone. Replay couldn’t determine the player out-of-bounds and the referee, Jeff Triplette, went with the call on the field. However, multiple media outlets show the player was out-of-bounds.

It is clear in this example that there could be a more efficient process set up to conduct replays in all NFL games. If the officials on-field had better access to shots, angles, and were able to speak with a replay official from headquarters who could better exist them, this would lead to more efficient games and calls made, which would make fans, players, coaches, officials, and the NFL much happier.



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