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NFL games are about to get longer and more replay-filled

MJD
Shutdown Corner

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Hey, here's something I hate. An increased number of booth reviews in the 2011 season is going to lead to longer games, says the NFL's former vice president of officiating.

A new rule goes into effect this year stating that every scoring play that happens in the course of an NFL game will be automatically reviewed by the replay official. Here's an explanation of that process from Mike Pereira at FOXSports.com:

If an official rules a score (touchdown, field goal, safety or extra point) during a game, the replay official will automatically review the play. If there is any question as to whether the ruling is correct, they will buzz down to the referee and ask him to come to the monitor to review the play. If the replay official confirms the ruling is correct, they will buzz the referee indicating he is clear to let the scoring team attempt the extra point, or kick off if the scoring play was a field goal, safety or extra-point attempt. A coach will not be allowed to challenge the ruling of a score. The intent is to save the coach from having to challenge the ruling of a score and, thus, increase his chances of not running out of challenges or timeouts.

Overkill.

It's not necessarily that I'm anti-replay; if the right call can be made, then it should be. But in the quest to "get it right," it seems like the flow of the game is often completely discarded, and I'd argue that that's way more important to the NFL's viewing experience. And now we're building more stoppages into the game, right after its most exciting plays?

Unnecessary stoppages brutalize a game's watchability. It's like these "reality" shows, where they pound in unending pauses in an effort to manufacture artificial drama, but end up just being irritating as all hell. I don't know how anyone can stand that.

We should be looking at ways to shorten games, not make them longer. If a 1 p.m. game isn't going to end until 5, I want it to be because it went into overtime and gave us free football. It seems like we're getting to the point now that a game won't end on time (before the 4/4:15 games start) unless it happens to be contested by two teams that favor a ball-control offense.

And think about this, too: You know that super-annoying thing that networks do when, after a score, there's a commercial break, they come back for the kickoff, and then have another commercial break, and it seems like there's about a half hour between plays from scrimmage?

Throw a replay break into that, too. You'll see the same Coors Light commercial six times before anyone takes another snap.

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