Tag Archives: Referees

Upon Further Review, Scrap College Football Replay

As we stand upon the brink of the 137th year of college football, there are few things that could be changed that would make the game itself better.  But, no single game-centric issue needs more fixin’ than the system for college football replays.

We love the college game and it is simply better than the NFL in most ways.  However, the college football replays system should, without question, be conducted the same way they do it in professional football.

Two Scenarios That Capture the Shortfalls of College Football Replays

It’s first and goal at the 2-yard line when a powerful tailback goes off tackle and into a pile.  The officials can’t tell if the ball crossed the goal line because of the mass of humanity mashing against each other.  When the dust clears, the officials make a call…

Whether the refs ruled a touchdown or not is irrelevant here.  Why?  Because you can guarantee that play will be stopped and we’ll all lose patience watching the different angles to see if the guy got in.

The next scenario looks like this.  The offense faces 2nd & 9 at their own 32 late in the first quarter when the QB completes a three-yard pass that may or may not truly have been complete.  When the initial replay is shown, it’s unclear as to whether the nose of the ball hit the ground or if the receiver got his hands under the ball.

No matter.  The “genius” eye in the sky stops play to look at the play from every angle except the receiver’s helmet cam.  Four minutes go by when the ref pulls off the headphones and announces that the call on the field stands.  The result?  It’s now 3rd & 6 instead of 3rd & 9.  Wow!  That’s progress, right?

Upon Further Review…

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going back to the way it was for over a century.  No replay.  The refs make the call and the call is final.  Now, get to the line of scrimmage and let’s play.

But, that will never happen and continuing this system makes us bleed from the eyeballs.  So, here’s a solution.

The NFL system puts the decision on the coach.  In both of the aforementioned scenarios, the coach of the defensive team probably never would’ve wasted his challenge on those plays.

If he challenges scenario A and wins, there’s still a good chance that the QB will score on a sneak from the 3-inch line on the next play anyway.  He’d save his challenge for a different scenario.

If he challenges scenario B and wins, the offense is just as likely to convert on third down whether they need six or nine yards.  Again, he’d save his challenge.

In the college system, there are already stoppages in play that destroy the flow of the game and the involuntary replay stoppage makes the games almost unbearable for the fans inside the stadium.  If coaches were given one challenge, they would be likely to use them carefully and then the fans would not be subjected to the endless delays that disrupt the flow and, ultimately, make the games longer.

Instead, the Rules Committee chooses to completely ignore the flaws in the replay system.  The inherent flaw with their approach to their decisions is that millionaire head coaches are the Rules Committee and the last thing they want is more accountability.  So, they leave it up to the replay official to remove the burden.  To boot, this change to the system would result in fewer replays and speed up the game, which will give the networks more dependable windows of time for their broadcasts.

Again, college football is the greatest sport on the planet and I hate to seem like I’m bashing this thing I schedule my year around.  But if I were Czar, I’d make this change to make it that much better.

E-mail Mark at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @MarkCFried.

Photo courtesy of Brian Cantoni on Flickr.

5 Overlooked Super Bowl Storylines

So far there have been 2 major story lines during the 2 weeks of Super Bowl media-driven hype. The first is whether Richard Sherman is a thug (and whether people should be arrested for hate-crimes if they use that word): I think I said all I want to say as a comment in Ryan Isley’s article last week.

The second is what happens to Peyton Manning’s legacy if he wins this game, if he loses this game, if he eeks out a victory, if he loses at the last second, if he has a ham sandwich before, after, or both, whether he’ll target Richard Sherman, whether he thinks Richard Sherman should be commended for being an honors student at Stanford, and whether Skip Bayless and 14 year olds on Twitter should be representative of Americans in various columnists’ arguments.

In other words, a lot of Manning and Sherman.

I think you can probably tell from my tone so far that I’m not the biggest fan of these hyped up story lines where sports fans get yelled at by the “sports” “media” (purposeful punctuation). Very little fires me up more than Bob Costas giving his opinion on politics or gun control like he’s some kind of expert on either. Bob Costas should reserve his opinions for the football watching audience on Sunday nights to 2 things: sports and Secret Tall Instant Shoe Lifts. Cheap shot, but Costas has been doing his best to cheapen social debate, so I believe he deserved it.

So anyway, here are 5 angles I don’t think anyone’s covering with as much juice as they deserve. Otherwise known as, “if Mike was paid and given free rein to journalize (this is not the right way to use this word, but I think it should be and I’m not a paid journalist, so take a leap), what would he talk about this week”.

I’m not going to actually talk about these things, because I’m not paid and I have no rein. I’m taking cheap shots from the cheap seats, obviously. Welcome to MTAF Boston, new reader.


  1. How will the refs call this game? Without question, the NFL brass and moneymen are rooting for the Broncos and their All-American QBs (Elway) to win the title and stand on the platform. Will Rog Goodell pull a Dave Stern and instruct his zebras to influence the outcome? I say he won’t – too risky for the NFL to risk the obscene money they make with a ref scandal. The NBA had (has) far less to lose.
  2. Will Manning go at Sherman? I realize that I just harped on how annoying their story lines are, but this one doesn’t seem to be played up like the others (probably because it’s, you know, football related and the sports media generally can’t stand talking about sports – it’s why if you like the NBA but not all that goes along with it, you should be reading Zach Lowe and few others). Assuming Sherman covers DeMaryius Thomas, will Manning just exclude DT from his game plan or will he attempt to abuse one of the best cover guys in the game?
  3. Will Russell Wilson’s legs be a part of this game? He’s averaged 500 yards rushing per year since coming into the league, and had 539 this year. He’s averaging 8 yards rushing per game in the playoffs.
  4. What does LaLa Anthony have to say on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live”? I’m joking. It’d be categorically insane for an alleged writer on an alleged sports website to ask that question. Wait, ESPN has it on their front page as I type? Freaking awesome. What a joke company.
  5. Why do Seattle defenders keep getting suspended for PED use? In a league where fans with eyes have to recognize that PEDs are running rampant, the Seahawks are getting suspended at a breakneck pace. Is the “best defense in the league” really just the most juiced defense in the league? Or are they being unfairly targeted for a practice that nearly all players employ?
  6. What are the best prop bets this year? This one is little more than a self-serving way to end this column and tell you that I’ll be back on Friday to talk props. It’s the most fun gambling day of the year, and we’ll find some cool stuff to lose cash on. Until then.


Thank you for reading.


Did the Owners actually benefit most from "The Call?"

A lot has been made of the final play from Monday Night Football.  To include Twitter almost exploding following the game.  Unfortunately, I was unable to watch the play live I was flying from Baltimore to Columbus that night and I had to watch it vicariously through Twitter.

The outcry was incredible and has been covered time and time again.  The main meat is that as a collective fan base we figured this was the end of the referee/NFL labor dispute.  Surely the NFL would act quickly to get the real refs back on the field to preserve the integrity of the game.

Then a couple things happened that really got me thinking.  The NFL came out with a statement saying, sure there was an offensive PI that wasn’t called, but other than that we are good with the ruling.  While most of us believe that watching such atrocities play out on the field would surely mean a deal was coming, the owners saw it a differently

Continue reading Did the Owners actually benefit most from "The Call?"

Finally, a reason to blame the Refs!


The mark of any successful business endeavor is the integrity of its product.  The National Football League has developed into one of the richest businesses in our country.  Even when they took an entire off-season off, jerseys still sold, season tickets were still purchased and the Sunday Ticket was still subscribed to; all the while the league was locked out.

The NFL has been expertly marketed over the past decade and has lapped the other professional sports in America.  But we now have a very serious issue on our hands.  Officiating.  To keep our interest, the rules must be properly enforced.  When rules are not properly enforced, it causes people to take advantage.  This increases the risk for injury as well as inaccurate portrayals of the competition that is being carried out on the field. Continue reading Finally, a reason to blame the Refs!

Off-Base Percentage: The NFL Official Replacements

Off-Base Percentage is a weekly post about the lighter side of sports, mainly baseball. Whether it occurs on the field, in the locker room, or in the media, if it is a little ‘off-base’ then it is fair game. If you are looking for analysis of a player, team, or sport it won’t be found in this post. This is for the sports fan that wants to take a step back and look at sports from a ‘different’ angle. Enjoy.

Football is upon us. Training camps have begun. Yet this off-season we are dealing with another lockout and it may demand a group of replacements. I am not talking about Shane Falco and a group of no-names looking to make the playoffs. Though Keanu Reeves may be looking for work, I don’t think he is qualified to be this group’s replacement. Continue reading Off-Base Percentage: The NFL Official Replacements