Week 13 Runaround: The Problem with Instant Replay

Kevan LeeSenior Analyst IDecember 3, 2007

http://assets.espn.go.com/media/nfl/2006/0205/photo/a_leavy_275.jpgInstant replay was fun for awhile, but it really has to go.

Referees are hiding behind it, coaches are abusing it, and the quality of the football experience is being diminished by it.

Sure, the replay system is a good thing to have around for those few occasions when officials get it wrong and games are on the line. But the rest of the time, it's an annoying, overused gimmick.

Back-to-back plays in the Steelers-Bengals game were challenged and upheld. The first half of the Giants-Bears game took forever because of instant replay.

And those were the only two games I happened to watch.

It's become standard practice to challenge every close play—just in case. Coaches make challenges to support their players, appease the fans, and even kill some of the other team’s momentum.

Referees, for their part, are scared to make the call they see on the field because they know that whatever they decide can ultimately be reversed.

With a few exceptions, things weren’t all that bad before replay. Officials were right most of the time, and at least there was finality to their calls.

What's more, we were subjected to way fewer John Madden rule interpretations.

Of course, we'll never be able to return to the simpler time before replay. There's too much riding on each game for teams to leave it up to a referee’s eyes, no matter how accurate those eyes are.

If the NFL can’t live without instant replay, though, then I can’t live without my TiVo.  At least I can fast forward my way through the tedium.


Team of the Week: Cowboys

Dallas’ win over Green Bay on Thursday showed just how far the rest of the NFC has to go to catch the Cowboys.

A healthy Packers team still has the best shot at scoring an upset, but now that the 'Boys have the inside track on home-field advantage, their prospects for a trip to the Super Bowl look good.

Tony Romo’s play will determine the team's fate—and if he keeps playing like he has been, the sky’s the limit.

Bad Team of the Week: Detroit Lions

Last week Eli Manning made the Vikings look good by throwing three interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.

This week, the Lions did the Vikes an even bigger favor.

Detroit fell apart Sunday, giving up 216 yards on the ground, 227 yards in the air, and managing only 10 points and 23 rushing yards themselves. For a team that had such high aspirations just a few weeks ago, this Lions squad looks to be in serious trouble.

A four-game losing streak will do that to you. And a 42-10 loss to the Vikings will make things look that much worse.


Kevan Lee’s Beverage of the Week: Gingerale

For most of my life, I thought gingerale was for old people or sheltered kids.

Turns out this bland soda is actually pretty good.

Gingerale doesn’t taste like anything in particular, which already gives it a head start on Fanta. It looks nondescript and boring, which is more than you can say for a glass of Crystal Pepsi.

And when you drink it, there’s no uncomfortable aftertaste, à la Walmart brand anything.

Maybe old people and sheltered kids know more than we give them credit for.


Nap of the Week: First quarter, Bears-Giants

New York wasn’t kicking to Devin Hester, so I wasn’t about to fight off sleep.


Playoff Pretender of the Week: Chicago Bears

There's little doubt that Rex Grossman gives the Bears their best chance to win for the rest of the season—but there may be little Grossman can do about the Bears’ playoff chances.

Their loss to the Giants—in a game they should have won—puts the Bears on the verge of missing the playoffs. Their four remaining games are all against possible playoff teams, and they'll probably need to win all four to stay alive.


Playoff Contender of the Week: Arizona Cardinals

Arizona crawled back into the playoff race with a win over the Browns. Next week’s game against Seattle will be huge (a win would cut the Seahawks’ division lead to one game), but Arizona should be in good shape if they can manage to win three of their remaining four.

With home games against the Rams and Falcons to close the season, you have to like Arizona’s chances.

Premature MVP Ballot

1. Tom Brady: If Derek Anderson can make Baltimore’s defense look old, there’s no telling what Brady can do.

2. Tony Romo: His Thursday performance was thrilling—despite Bryant Gumble's commentary.

3.  Peyton Manning: He deserves mention on this list if for nothing other than his Sprint commercial about washboard abs.


Weekly Super Bowl Prediction: Colts vs. Bucs

Nothing says Super like a McCown brother.


For more, visit www.kevanlee.com.


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