NFL Recap: Another Blowout Game Covers Up Flaws with the NFL Replay System

Kristian SiutaCorrespondent IIDecember 26, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 18:  Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants throws out the red challenge flag during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on October 18, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Normally a 45-17 blowout would not garner much attention, but in the Green Bay Packers-New York Giants game on Sunday one play could have shifted the outcome, but fans will never know for sure. 

As the NY Giants were driving to cut the Packers 14-point lead in half, Eli Manning dropped back to pass towards the sideline, and was intercepted by Green Bay safety Sam Shields. New York's coach, Tom Coughlin was left with his hands in his pockets unable to have a say in a clear blown call. 

Earlier in the third quarter, Coughlin challenged two fumble calls by his turnover prone Giants. One of the reviews was overturned, the other left Coughlin and the Giants on the wrong side of the red challenge flag. 

There were zero issues with the ultimate decisions made following the replay reviews; the bone to pick here is about the replay rules in place in professional football.

When Eli Manning threw the interception to Sam Shields, everyone sitting on their couch watching at home knew the pass was incomplete. Shields caught the ball cleanly, but his second foot was indisputably out of bounds.

With a number of angles being shown on the FOX broadcast, each view showed an incomplete pass. Both teams should have returned to their respective huddles and lined up for a 3rd down play from the Giants’ 30.

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman even confirmed this fact during the broadcast, but as they stated, “Coughlin can’t do anything about it”.

That is a problem in professional football. When a call is clearly incorrect on the field, someone, somewhere should be able to interject.

All of the rules in the NFL are not perfect or sound, but it is clear that the replay system used in “The League” is nowhere near pristine.

College might have something going for them with rules, and maybe the NFL can listen in on a few of the NCAA Football Rules Committee meetings.

In the college game, every single play is reviewed. In the professional game, coaches control replays, not the officiating crew. Sure coaches would like to challenge plays, but once all of their “red flags” are used, no one can correct a poor call.

Certainly coaches can’t have unlimited challenges, and every play will never be reviewed, but if the call on the field is blatantly incorrect, something has to be done.

Can someone in the officiating booth, or review booth, buzzer down just like college? Absolutely, but that seems too logical.

In an era where the NFL is enhancing player safety, revising the game, and adding improvements throughout the game, the replay system is still flawed. Thus, leaving, not only fans, but more importantly coaches and players with plenty to be desired.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has reshaped the NFL in ways that have sparked mass discussion, but the issues with replay continue to be swept under the rug.

With the Green Bay Packers running away with the game Sunday night, the wide margin covers up the system’s mass flaws. If this game would have been closer, say a field goal, or a touchdown margin, Eli Manning’s second turnover of what turned out to be six for the day was largely overlooked.

However, another blowout game will be featured in the box score, but eventually, a game will be decided over hotly contested call, because of the instant replay system in the NFL. It is only a matter of time before the challenge flag will to be thrown out, and plays will be ruled correctly.

It will be unfortunate when a team’s hopes and dreams of championship run will be dashed when a call is clearly incorrect. But if that is what it takes to change the system, then so be it.