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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student


Review process needs to be altered.

The newest edition of Instant Replay in the NFL has been intact now for three and a half seasons, and made officiating much better than in its absence. But, there are certain areas where the system needs to be…overturned, if you will.\nLeague officials need to look back to why they reinstated instant replay in the first place -- it was an opportunity to assure that the correct call was being made by the referees on the field. There are instances, however, even in the new system where that is simply impossible.\nTo begin with, the current system dictates that on a possible fumble, should the official feel that a pass was incomplete or that the quarterback indeed was in the process of throwing, then the play is over. This ends the opportunity for the defense to recover the ball, because the players must stop when they hear the whistle. So, even if it can be determined that the referee indeed was wrong, the play is considered un-reviewable, since the alternative to the original call never played itself out.\nInstead of this injustice, the referees should be told to let the play be played out as though it was a fumble. Then, the officiating crew can gather -- before the play is asked to be reviewed -- and decide if they should let the play stand or if they feel the play was dead before the fumble. After the meeting, a team can challenge the call on the field. This way, the replay can indicate the correct call, and it will be possible for play to continue, no matter which way the judgment goes.\nAnother part of the 1999 instant replay system that must be changed is limiting coaches to two challenges per game. It is unfair to punish a coach if he is correct in his challenge. There is already an incentive not to challenge at will -- the loss of a time-out -- and a coach could still be denied the right to challenge if he has already had two unsuccessful challenges in a game. But, the spirit of instant replay is to get the calls right, and if a coach sees that a referee has erred, and he is proven right by replay, he should not lose his right to challenge again. Does anyone really believe that it is fair for a coach, late in a game, to have a bad call go against him, but not be able to challenge because he won a challenge earlier? I certainly don't.\nReferees should be punished for incorrect calls, not coaches or teams. If the league is worried about a high number of reviewed calls, then they should increase the referees' interest in getting the call right in the first place.\nThe main argument against both of these amendments is that they will increase the amount of replays used, which will in turn slow down the game. The problem with that, however, is that it contradicts the league's attempt to get every call right, and is unfair to teams that have been obviously cheated by bad calls.\nIf the league really wanted to avoid slowing the game down, then they could certainly do away with the endless commercials after every score, kickoff, and turnover. These breaks may bring in dollars for the television networks, but if slowing a game down is truly a problem, then people are apparently tuning out anyway.\nWhile the replay system is a huge success, it is not perfect, and these adjustments will help to ensure the integrity of the league and the credibility of its officials.

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