One of the most frustrating and annoying things about watching an NFL game on TV is when the referee goes under the hood, makes a ruling based on what he sees that no one agrees with (the fans, the coaches, or the announcers) and the announcer gives this conclusion: “well, he must have a camera angle look that’s different from us”. My response is always the same – “WHY!?!?!”. Why should any NFL official be blessed with superior camera angles than the viewer? After all, we’re the ones pumping billions of dollars into this product based on the entertainment it gives us. How can the league supress visual evidence that helps justify their controversial rulings? Well, if you attend a game live in person, that will no longer be the case. Fans in stadium will get the exact same view at the exact same time as the referee in the both. I for one am incredibly excited about this change.
So moving forward the NFL will now play on the big video screen live at games the same footage the referee is reviewing “under the hood” on challenged plays or close calls within 2 minutes of the half/game. This is after the previous announcement that the NFL was also making coach’s game tape available to the fans. This will not only help educate the average fan further about the game, but allow them to dig deeper into the minute details if they choose to do so. Essentially more options are becoming available to the fans. What’s not to like?
There’s two schools of thought on how this plays out. If you hate Ed Hochuli, this could either help you solidify how terrible you think he is, giving him nowhere to hide, or it could help defend some of his calls that seem crazy. It certainly puts more pressure on the referee to get the call right as errors made in the booth will only get scrutinized more heavily. Instant replay is a dangerous tool because while there’s no doubt it helps the integrity of the game, it also opens up the one’s enforcing the rules to much more criticism. But that’s their problem, not mine. As a fan it will be great to see this because the more information we can have as part of our viewing experience, the better. After all, I think everyone reading this blog pays a significant amount of change to the NFL, whether it be attending games, buying the DirecTV package, going to watch games at a bar, team gear etc etc… The least they can do is give us more bang for our buck.