Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007
More on instant replay
At ESPN, Jim Caple argues, on the eve of The Big Game and the 25th Anniversary of The Play, that it is a good thing there was no instant replay in 1982.
Three key comments from the story:
Nowadays, officials would review replays of The Play for so long that before they reached a verdict, Silicon Valley engineers would have developed another digital recording system that Microsoft and Apple would make us purchase in order to further analyze the decision. And then the refs would undoubtedly overrule The Play -- with more than two dozen players from both teams on the field, plus more than a hundred band members and cheerleaders, a replay official surely would find something objectionable -- and ruin the greatest play in college football history.
But football is a game, not a court of law. And if you try to achieve perfection, you lose something more important. The beauty of sport is that it is played by humans, not computer programs. We are imperfect. We make mistakes. We fumble the ball, drop passes and trip over our own feet when there is nothing but open field ahead. And sometimes, Gary Tyrrell runs onto the field with a trombone. That's what makes the game unpredictable. That's what makes it compelling. That's what makes it fun.
[Editorial Comment: Even if it were a court of law, I remain unconvinced that video evidence necessarily gives perfection or even brings us closer to it].
What matters is that a group of trained, dedicated referees followed The Play that day as best they could, and they ruled on it as fairly and honestly as possible.
I have made before how I feel about instant replay. Looks like I found at least one person who agrees.