Well, after ages of procrastination, The Billy Blog has begun! I have been meaning to start blogging for quite some time now, but for one reason or another, I haven't actually gone past the conceptual stages. . .until now. I still don't know what area I will focus most of my efforts on; I have considered food, sports, guns, politics, health & fitness, and generally making fun of people all as areas that I could effectively post on, but for now, I think I'll just post what I feel like posting, and see where it takes us!
So on what topic should I make my first post? After much thought (and football watching, since it's Sunday!), I've decided to complain about the NFL's policy regarding instant replay. At one point in time, I considered myself to be a football "purist," and I looked down on instant replay as taking away from the game. After all, what's the point in having referees when the TV cameras make all the calls? Of course, with more camera angles being added every year, some tremendously atrocious calls were highlighted (one that sticks out in my mind is "Vinny and the Jets" scoring a TD by getting to the half-yard-line), and a call was made for the reintroduction of instant replay in 1999 (it was previously used from 1986 to 1992).
Well, ten years later, they have a pretty workable system in place, but I do see a couple of big problems with it. As it currently stands, in a game, each team gets two "challenges" to call for a replay of the previous play. If the call on the field stands, the challenging team loses a time-out. If the call is overturned, the challenging team doesn't lose a time-out. Additionally, if a team successfully uses both of its challenges, it is awarded a third challenge, and therein lies the problem - why should a team be punished by limiting its number of successful challenges??? I have no problem with limiting your number of challenges to two if you lose the challenge, because that will (or should) keep teams from making long shot challenges just in the hopes of getting lucky. However, if the refs keep cheesing calls against one team, that team only has three opportunities to right what once went wrong! (bonus points if you get the Quantum Leap reference)
Another problem I have with the replay rules is that the replay official ("the booth") is solely responsible for calling for replays within the last two minutes of each half. I completely understand the virtue of having the booth able to call for replays inside two minutes, because those two minutes are usually where all the close plays really matter. What I don't understand, though, is why teams are prevented from using their challenges when they still have them! The only rationale for this that I can come up with is that teams might feel they shouldn't have to use one of their challenges if the booth should challenge it anyway, but the current plan of calling a timeout and hoping the booth will review the play is pretty weak. Besides, if a team wasn't punished for getting a challenge right (see the previous paragraph), it wouldn't be an issue!
Well, that's all I have to say about that. On the whole I think replay is good for the game, but it does gripe me a little bit. I did happen to see a graphic on the NFC playoff picture. Right now, the Rams (5-6) would go to the playoffs as the NFC West champs. What's funnier, though, is that Arizona and San Francisco (both 3-7) are considered "in the hunt" because they can still win the division! Ahh, you gotta love the NFC West this year!!
Anyway, thanks for reading The Billy Blog, and I hope I can keep it interesting!