People make mistakes. We're only human. For years, the National Football League had relied on the eyes of it's officials to judge play.
Then technology entered the league. Welcomed by fans who felt the officiating needed help, instant replay has changed the game.
It has identified catches, turnovers and even correct placement of the football for the next play. It has confirmed the correct call and has corrected a poor call. If Instant Replay were that simple, the NFL would receive an attaboy for implementing replay.
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However, replay has caused rule changes and confusion. It has drawn out games and still is not perfect. In some instances, it has changed the outcome of important games.
During the 2015 AFC Wild Card Game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, Martavus Bryant makes, what seems to be, an acrobatic catch for a touchdown.
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The play was reviewed by the NFL officials in New York and deemed a catch. However, a week later, the NFL released a statement saying it was not a catch. Here is the play.
In a game where Pittsburgh advanced to play the Denver Broncos by beating the Bengals by two points, the officials on the field and the officials in New York agreed that Bryant had caught the ball.
Prior to the Divisional Playoff Game at Denver, the NFL corrected the call. Sorry about your luck, Bengals. Your team should be playing, but we screwed up.
Maybe that should have been the statement released. Going deeper, by the Bengals losing, their staff became available to be interviewed by other teams. In a matter of hours following the loss, Offensive Coordinator, Hue Jackson was interviewed by the Cleveland Browns and hired, as head coach, two days later.
Had the call been made correctly, Jackson would not have been able to take the job, as the Bengals were still alive. The question then becomes, would Jimmy Haslam have waited to hire Jackson? No one knows the answer to that.
For arguments sake, let's assume he doesn't. The Browns have a different coach, different staff and Hue Jackson is hired elsewhere. What if Jackson is the answer in Cleveland? What if the Browns become the next dynasty? When Hue hoists the Lombardi trophy, will Cleveland put the Official who blew the call in
When Hue hoists the Lombardi trophy, will Cleveland put the Official who blew the call in it's ring of honor? More importantly, when will the NFL get it right?