Tick, tick, tick… Why expanding replay is a terrible idea

What a horrible mistake.

CFL bosses are pondering the idea of expanding upon video review. That’s such a horrible mistake — video review in all its varied forms is a horrible mistake.

Video review is ruining every sport, from the CFL to the NBA to Major League Baseball. It’s ruining the spontaneity of the game. Every game. The best reality programs available are sports. Well, they used to be, until video review intervened.

Touchdowns, goals, baskets and home runs can no longer be immediately celebrated. All spontaneity is gone, while the players, the fans, the viewing audience, statisticians and officials wait… and wait… and wait… and wait for every camera angle to be reviewed to ascertain if the scoring play was actually legal.

Perhaps there was “insufficient evidence” to overturn the call, or the video review official made some cockamamie ruling that defied logic and somehow ruled that spectacular reception was instead an incompletion. Even with the help (and that’s a debatable term) of video review, the rulings aren’t always correct. That’s long been the argument from coaches when advocating video review: “Let’s get it right.” That’s not working.

Coaches want more control over the games. That’s why video review was implemented and why leagues such as the CFL want to expand the scope of allowing more video challenges by coaches. Such a bad idea! Does a coach on the sidelines, fighting to keep his job, really care about what makes a game watchable? Of course he doesn’t. The worst part of every game nowadays is the delay required for a video review. Tick, tick, tick, tick….

This argument is likely a losing battle in these days of technological improvements, but it’s time for the CFL and all other sports to realize that officials make fewer mistakes than the players or coaches, yet the on-field officials are expected to be perfect. It can’t happen. Officials don’t cheat. They make the best decisions possible in every situation. Statistics show CFL officials were correct on 95.5 per cent of their calls last season.

The CFL is also proposing the addition of an eighth official to its game-day crew, who will be seated in the press box where he can “instantaneously” make a ruling on every play. Was that a penalty or not? Does anyone really think an extra official will cause fewer penalties to be called?

CFL bosses believe they won’t be creating extra stoppages for challenges. Wrong! Instead of requiring two correct coaches’ challenges to acquire a third challenge in each game, a coach may have to be correct on only one of his challenges to get a third challenge.

Fans were told two years ago that defensive pass interference would be the only judgment call open to a coaches’ challenge, but now the CFL is thinking about allowing something as trivial as a no-yards penalty to be reviewed.

Horrible, horrible ideas. The CFL used to be a great game, until video review got involved. It’s not the only victim. Let’s just go back to the days of making the best decisions possible and allowing sports to again be fun, quick, unpredictable and spontaneous.

Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.