March 22, 2011
Mike Brown(notes), the owner of the Cincinnati Bengals, and reason that the Bengals are the way they are, spoke to Bengals.com about a number of issues, including instant replay. Brown has never been known as a friend to progressive thinking, so his views, while probably unpopular, probably won't shock you.
You know how I feel about instant replay. It's marvelous how complicated we can make it. I don't have any objection to the guy upstairs saying this play needs to be reviewed. That takes the makeup challenge away from the coaches. That's supposed to balance out the frequency of challenges. In my book, fewer challenges is better than more because I like the game to be uninterrupted. I like it to proceed. And I know the arguments for instant replay and yet I think it misses one key thing: It slows (the game) down and sometimes it produces justice that is most fine.
In other words, you can call these plays either way. They're that close. In super slow motion? Yeah, it might be this instead of that, and in my book, why bother? Let the official on the field call it. It's that close and let the game proceed. It all balances out over time. But that isn't where we are. That was a fight for long ago, but I've never changed my basic view of it.
I hate to agree with Mike Brown, but on this particular issue, I'm going to have to be an enemy of progressive thinking, too. I think there's a place for instant replay, but as it's currently used? Mike Brown is right. I think we've structured instant replay in a way that the slowdown it imposes on the game isn't worth what it gives us in terms of the proper calls. Especially since replay doesn't always give us the right decision anyway.
Not that I'm completely on the same page as Brown. I don't believe that things "balance out over time" -- that's some nonsense that sounds nice, but has zero basis in reality -- but I don't think what we're getting is worth the epic slowdown it often produces.
Maybe I wouldn't mind so much if there weren't already so many interruptions built into the game. If the NFL would promise to never allow networks to do the "commercial, kickoff, commercial" progression anymore, then I'd promise to stop whining about how replay kills the flow of a game.
None of this really matters, either. It's not like instant replay is something that's up for referendum anytime soon. I just thought that if Mike Brown said something that approached being sensible, he deserved to be recognized.
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