I do however still firmly believe that we should do everything in our power to get the calls right as close to 100% of the time as possible. The following represents my ideal system for modernizing and improving the accuracy of officiating in the NFL.
A Sequestered booth
First off it would be an all around "upgrade" of the power off-the-field officials have. Like college the NFL should have people in place who can decide to review anything they feel like. These plays would be quickly reviewed in the booths and the outcome would be sent down to the field. Where my improvement would be, above and beyond instituting colleges' system, is that the people in the booth would be sequestered from watching the actual game. They would be notified they were going to review something and would get all the camera angles available. They would be without all the mitigating factors that could bias someone watching the game. They wouldn't know the context of the game, the score, or the original call. They wouldn't know the "momentum" of the game, or anything along those lines. Now obviously the scoreboard could flash on the screen and whatnot, but if at all possible all those variables that might bias or pressure a referee to rule one way or another would be taken off the table.
The sequestered officials would watch the play and rule what they believe was right. In the rare circumstances they couldn't rule, even on what was the most likely thing to have happened, they could return a ruling of inconclusive, so the play would default to stand as called originally.
There would be no time wasted running over to the booth, then reviewing a call. A good portion of the time the guy reviewing it is the guy that made the call in the first place. (An obvious bias.)
This has bothered me since the replay system was brought back. Why in the crap isn't there some sort of timestamp system for the replays? I don't know one way or another if the clips the ref is watching officially have timestamps on them or not. I do know that the ones the home viewers see do not. I'm so sick of the fact that we have situations where things stand as called because, for example, in one angle you can see where the ball is, but not the players knee, and in the other replay you can see the knee but not the ball. It's damn near 2008. According to every movie ever made depicting the future we are supposed to be a few short years from flying cars and space colonies. We can't come up with a way to marry the camera angle of the ball with the camera angle of the knee? Which leads me to.....
Of all the things that drive me the most batty in the NFL is the placement and measuring system. You have guys running from down the field who were grossly out of position, to make any judgment what so ever, where the ball was when the whistle blew. Half the time they are making placements on a ball you can't even see. The spots are off by entire yards sometimes. Then after a ball gets, more or less, randomly spotted 15 times in a drive we go through the charade of measuring down to the micron to determine if a team got a first down or not.
Here's what needs to happen, and I have to believe we have the technology to make it happen relatively easily. Put small tracking devices in the noses of the football. That's all it would take. I have to imagine it's possible to use some device that wouldn't effect the weight or flight in any noticeable manner. No mater how many guys were in that pile at the goal line you would be able to triangulate the nanosecond that ball grossed the goal line. Sure there could still be questions of when the play should be ruled down. However pair up the timestamps from above with the tracking information and you would know exactly where the ball was at any given time. Generally speaking it's easy to tell if a pile is moving or not, it's just not always easy to spot the ball in said pile.
Not to mention, think of all the cool stats, diagrams, and online "Gametracker" type systems, that tracking every millimeter a football moved could garner you.
This is minor, but I would also tweak the challenging system. First off you should be able to challenge all day until you get a certain number (Two most likely) wrong. It's a sad outcome but what has happened with the replay system is that instead of making a call refs will sometimes let a play run its course, knowing the teams have some recourse. Sometimes they'll have no idea on a call and just look sideline to sideline waiting for a challenge. You shouldn't be punished just because your team had to use challenges to counter "non calls." On a close fumble the referees SHOULD let the play take it's course, but if the team who had the ball originally wants to challenge the runner was down, and it turns out he was, they shouldn't be out anything because they didn't do anything wrong.
This is really minor, but what was the rational behind the fact that plays are only reviewable by the booth in the last two minutes of the halves? This makes no sense to me. A coach should be rewarded for saving his challenges until the plays "matter the most," not told he no longer has any recourse. What could possibly be the reason for this? The only thing I can think of would be the feeling that the last two minutes already took "long enough"as it was. I for one would rather see more calls get made correctly than have the games finish up 10 minutes quicker.
I would also change it so anything that happened on a football field was able to be challenged. I don't get that the things that are "judgment calls" are not currently able to be reviewed. What isn't a "judgment call" of some sort? I get that if they were to open up the door for this, and watch every play in super slow motion, they would see some example of holding or pass interference on virtually every play. Still, I feel like there should be something in place the that you aren't stuck with the snap decision a ref does or doesn't make.
- Jeremy Lindgren really just wants something to be done to help stem the blatantly obvious conspiracy the referees are committing against the Minnesota Vikings