TUPATALK: Trees for the forest

Mike Tupa
Mike Tupa

My impulse is pretty much always to cling to the familiar, if it’s still working.

I get a little perturbed when websites change their design — just for the sake of changing. Hey, if there’s nothing to fix, don’t fix it.

Often, I find the changes make it more difficult to access the information and that there’s less of it.

But, that’s a topic to discuss when trapped on a desert island and you’re bored out of your skull.

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While I prefer the tried-and-trued — at least in my squinty-eye viewpoint — I believe pro sports could benefit by an upgrade with new technology, that could create more clarity and shorten the games.

One of the most important could be to create an electric eye-concept to the goal line to know if the ball crossed the goal line or not. Again, I’m about as much a genius on this stuff as Von Miller is a ballet dancer.

But, it seems to me a chip or some kind of technique could be part of the ball, and an sensor installed that spans across the entire front stripe of the goal line. If the ball crosses in fair territory, even if only by a 100th of an inch, some kind of device, probably a flashing light, would go off.

The addition of this kind of sensor could take away all the mystery as to whether someone scored or not, rather than requiring five or more minutes of replay review and discussion and unsatisfactory camera angles.


At one point, many traditionalists, such as myself, would have objected because we wanted to maintain the “human” element by letting the officials make the call.

But, with the introduction of film reviews and challenges and replay monitors and replay officials and all that, we’ve already dusted the unchallengeable adjudication of officials out the door.

So, why not take some of the technology — where it makes sense — to the next step?

I’m all for officials making judgement calls such as holding, interference, delay of game, and so on.

But, when it comes to exact measurements and stuff like that, I say let’s develop the next generation of hopefully foolproof advantages?


The same could be done with first down markers. We could still have the chain gang — which I believe is one of those great traditions of the game, plus it would maddening to try to move a machine to keep up with a hurry-up offense. But, the front stick of the chain could be set up to know whether the ball breaks the plane of the first down. This could be done by having a stick man on the other sideline to line up the sensor, or something like that.

I mean, there’s things to figure out, but I believe we could do it and remove all doubt as to whether a team earned a first down, or scored a touchdown, which seem to be the two most crucial spots in the game.

I believe baseball doesn’t experience the same kinds of gray areas, because there’s never any congestion of five or six or more bodies in a shot to muddy up the camera look.

Again, I would never want to see officials in any sport replaced or greatly reduced. I do believe that the officials do an incredible job, for the most part, and that it’s nice to have some institutions remain the same through the generations. But, the officials aren’t blessed with bionic eyes and if there’s something we can do guarantee completely accurate spots or calls, I say go for it.


Just an update on Bartlesville High graduate A.J. Parker. Due to injury, he missed last week’s game with the Detroit Lions. He didn’t practice at all.

But, this past week, he did practice, albeit it was light practice. His playing status for Sunday might not be known until the weekend.

I’m grateful and awed by what A.J. has achieved and hope he has some great days on the gridiron yet ahead of him.

This article originally appeared on Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise: TupaTalk column