Technology has changed mankind throughout the ages. The invention of the telegraph brought instant news to the world. The invention of the radio immersed a generation with music and sound that sparked its imagination. And the invention of television, a magic window that has become the new opiate of the masses, etched the images of war onto an entire generation. Each new medium brought every aspect of the world ever closer. Sports is no different.American football, invented in 1876 by Walter Camp, has benefited from the advent of technology. In 1924, the first football game was broadcast live from the stadium on Detroit’s WWJ station. It was the first time that listeners could hear a live play-by-play. Previously, football broadcasts were produced post-game, with the announcers reading the play-by-play and including their own sound effects.Today, baseball may be America’s pastime, but the most important sporting event is the Super Bowl, televised to hundreds of millions at home and across the globe. If television ever needed to flex its muscles, the Super Bowl would be the first to show. It has become an annual family event to sit around the living room, eat junk food and scream at the screen. Many times, the screaming is at the referee, because camera angles have shown a contradictory truth to the referee’s ruling. As if to add insult to injury, networks love to use instant replay on calls that were obviously wrong. Something had to be done.The National Football League recognized this fact and has been actively working on a solution. The league’s eight-person competition committee met three years ago and, with the owners’ vote, approved a three-year temporary rule allowing instant replays. This year, the committee recommended the instant replay rule become permanent with the additional change that if a coach is successful in overturning the first two rulings, then a third one should be granted.However, this was not so. Instead, owners voted to allow for another five-year temporary instant replay injunction with the extra challenge.That is ridiculous.First off, a system that has been in place for so long and has worked so well should not be given temporary status. Fans obviously prefer the unbiased truth of instant replay over the fallibility of human eyes. Instant replay was intended to make the game fair and prevent games from being decided by a bad call.Frankly, having a limit on the number of instant replays also seems ridiculous. Only allowing two or three assumes a referee will only make that many mistakes. Somehow, once that number of challenges is used, referees stop making mistakes? They are using rather faulty logic.Admittedly, this system can be abused. Coaches could begin challenging every play. Many have claimed this is a important reason to have a limit, but I ask, “why?”If each challenge shows the referee made a bad call, coaches should be allowed to continuously challenge. Rather than limiting the number of challenges, there should be a limit on the number of bad challenges. If the coach challenges incorrectly twice, then he should the privilege of instant replay revoked. This ensures that bad calls can never plague games, nor can an irresponsible coach ruin the pleasure of watching one.Technology has enriched so many aspects of our lives.Sports should be no different. It is time to embrace technology with open arms and admit that a machine will give a better truth than a human ever can.He can be reached at mhe@campustimes.org.



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