Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Replay Rant

The best part of TigerBlog's weekend was the card he got from Little Miss TigerBlog, who wrote the following:
"Good tidings to you and all of your kin, so since I am part of your family, your kin, I am wishing myself happy holidays."

TB's second favorite part was the Giants win over the Jets.

For starters, TB's favorite professional sports team is the Giants, and it was a win that eliminated the Eagles and kept the Giants in the chase for the NFC East title and a spot in the playoffs.

And it's not like TB hates the Jets per se. It's just that the current Jets head coach makes it somewhat easier to root against his team, unless you're a diehard.

TB found himself listening to the postgame show on the radio, and he checked out both team's stations as he flipped back and forth. It was there that he heard live as Brandon Jacobs torched Rex Ryan.

He also heard the play of the game on one station and the turning point of the game on the other, and somewhat shockingly, neither was Victor Cruz' 99-yard touchdown reception, which is what TB would have chosen.

If you missed the game, the Jets looked like they were dominating early on, but the Green had only a 7-0 lead to show for it. Then the Giants came very close to getting a touchdown before settling for a field goal, and so it was 7-3 when the Giants found themselves backed up to their 1.

As an aside, why didn't the Jets go for it on a 4th-and-inches at the Giants 42 early in the second quarter, up 7-3? Why don't teams take more chances on 4th-and-short, when they have a better-than-average chance of picking up the first down and maintaining possession? Had the Jets gone for it there and kept that drive going, the entire game might have been different; a coach whose talk is so bold could have used some bold action.

Anyway, after the Jets backed the Giants up on the 1, Eli Manning threw a short pass on third down that looked like it would be a first down and little more, only to see Cruz simply outrun the Jets to the end zone.

It was the 13th time in NFL history that a pass play had gone the maximum 99 yards, tying a record, as they say, that will never be broken.

As another aside, the Princeton record for longest pass play is the same, 99-yards, Matt Verbit to Clinton Wu, at Brown in the early 2000s.

The Giants won the game despite some curious officiating, especially in replay situations.

The first was after the Cruz TD, when the Jets regained possession.

Jeremy Kerley put the ball on the turf, and Aaron Ross picked it up and ran it in for a touchdown. The call on the field was TD, which meant that the video would have to be conclusive to overturn it.

From every angle, there was no way to see if Kerley's elbow hit the ground or the shoe of the Giants Antrel Rolle. And yet the call was reversed. There were also two reversals of fumble calls on the field.

Replay came to the NFL to correct horrible mistakes, not to be what it has become, which is a disaster. In fact, there was only call in the game that was really obviously wrong - a reception by Santonio Holmes where he clearly had possession and then fumbled - and yet that was non-reviewable because the whistle blew.

This is the first year of mandatory replay for ECAC hockey games, and each rink in the league now has a camera mounted over the goal line to see if the puck actually crossed the line.

Before two of Princeton's women's basketball games that were being televised by Verizon Fios 1, the refs came up to TB and asked about the video capability and whether they could use it for review. TB said it was fine with him, and the Verizon Fios crew was able to accommodate them.

Still, the games were much better off because there were no delays for replay than they would have been had there been stoppages to try to find the tiniest views of whether or not someone's foot had been on the three-point line or whether the shot clock went off before the shot or after.

It has always been TB's contention that nothing like that impacts the outcome of game, unless it happens in the final few minutes.

TB would much rather see refs who can ref the game without having to look over their shoulder at the video. Yes, some calls won't be exactly correct, but the game goes so much better without replay stoppages.

TB fears that he's in the huge minority in this thinking and that it won't be long before Princeton venues all follow the Baker Rink lead, with replay equipment that is installed - and then used way too much.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is research published in peer-reviewed academic statistics journals which supports TB's contention that football coaches should go for it more often on 4th-and-short. Empirically, teams would be much better off doing so in the long run, but what keeps coaches from being more aggressive is the fear of being second-guessed in the short run.