Instant Replay

       The video camera is a technology that has allowed millions of viewers access to events around the world.  This technology of recording events onto a video has been used by many people, but it has only been recently incorporated into the sports world.  Instant replay has resulted in fewer missed calls by referees and has even changed the outcome of games.  Instant replay is using video technology to increase the credibility of the game.

    In football, instant replay is incorporated in a way in which it has limited use.  Coaches are allowed to challenge two calls during the course of the game, which ensures that coaches will not challenge every call.  The calls that can be challenged are limited to those deemed reviewable.  If instant replay shows that the call on the field was correct, the team is charged a time-out, which could be harmful later in the game.  Additionally, the head referee can only look at the replay for one minute and thirty seconds, which ensures that the refs do not spend too much time on a single play.  Moreover, there needs to be inconclusive evidence for the call to be overturned.  In the last two minutes of each half, officials in a booth upstairs decide if plays need to be reviewed; the coaches cannot decide for themselves.  In this case, neither team would lose a timeout.  This process ensures the accuracy of the calls during the most important points of the game.  Furthermore, with the present technology available, the refs are able to evaluate the play from several different camera angles to ensure that they make the correct decision.

    It is evident in this picture that Jerry Rice (#80) has fumbled the ball before his knee touches the ground.  The Packers recovered the fumble, but after a conference with the officials, it was ruled that Rice was already down before he fumbled it.  This call led to a touchdown a few plays later, allowing the 49ers to continue in the playoffs and sending the Packers home packing.  Had instant replay been used, the Packers would have won the game and played the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the playoffs.

    Basketball also incorporates instant replay into its games, something that has only begun this year.  In this system, the only time that instant replay is used is to evaluate shots at the end of the half and at the end of the game to determine whether or not a player shot the ball before the end of the half and if that player's foot was on the three-point line.  This system was incorporated to alleviate the controversy that occurred during last year's playoffs in which the wrong calls were made at the ends of halves.  In last year's first round series between the Hornets and the Magic, a game-winning, buzzer-beating three-pointer by Baron Davis was disallowed even though it was released in time.  Reggie Miller forced overtime in Game 5 between the Nets and the Pacers with a shot that left his hand after the clock had expired.  In Game 4 of the Kings-Lakers series, a 30-foot shot by Samaki Walker at the end of the first half counted even though the ball left his hand after the half had ended.  However, now that instant replay has been implemented, it has already altered the results of several games this year to guarantee the correct outcomes.

    College sports, on the other hand, does not use instant replay in their games.  They wish to preserve the amateur status of their sports, and they believe that using instant replay would add an unacceptable appearance of professionalism to college sports.  Similarly, Major League Baseball does not use instant replay, although for a different reason.  They feel as though the American Pastime has historically operated on the basis that calls go both ways, and that a game played by human beings should be decided by human beings; therefore, Major League Baseball has not incorporated instant replay into its sport.