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The Blind Leading the Blind
Rick Reilly
December 14, 1998
Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you're one of those Spam-brained, slack-jawed geniuses who want instant replay back next year, you're not just wrong, you're Hoover Dam wrong. We need it back now.
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December 14, 1998

The Blind Leading The Blind

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Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you're one of those Spam-brained, slack-jawed geniuses who want instant replay back next year, you're not just wrong, you're Hoover Dam wrong. We need it back now.

I mean right now. I mean this weekend. I mean as soon as humanly possible, if not sooner.

Let me ask you something. How would you feel if they rolled you into the operating room for brain surgery and the chief surgeon said, "Well, Mr. Crumb, we have in this room all the latest, most expensive technology to perform this delicate operation safely and effectively. Unfortunately, we're not going to use any of it. Nurse, the leeches, please."

That's how NFL players feel. They're out there acquiring permanent limps, leaving their spleens on the field, only to have the games decided at the end by a lot of fully paid-up AARP members who can't wait to get together after the game and gum a nice bowl of creamed corn.

Now, a quick message to some of our friends out there who are NFL referees: RED GRANGE HAS RETIRED. PLEASE REPORT TO THE RESTFUL ACRES SENIORS COMMUNITY IMMEDIATELY.

In a kind of Terrible Triple Crown, NFL refs may have cost three teams spots in the playoffs in the last few weeks. There was 1) Holy Ghost, the phantom end zone pass interference call by back judge Jos� Feliciano that cost the Bills their game against the Patriots; 2) Tailsgate, in which head referee Marlee Matlin botched the overtime coin flip that cost the Steelers in their game against the Lions; and 3) Weak Sneak, the touchdown call line judge Stevie Wonder gift wrapped for Vinny Testaverde on Sunday that cost the Seahawks their game against the Jets. (Somebody keep an eye on the Meadowlands and call us when Testaverde finally gets that ball over the line.)

Yo, Paul Tagliabue! If you really are the commissioner of the NFL and not just a cadaver holding down limo-seat springs, you'll declare a leaguewide emergency and give us instant replay this weekend. You'll put a replay official in a room by himself at every stadium, give him every angle the network has and let him save your game.

Anytime the replay official sees something a little questionable—for instance, a back judge's calling film critic Rex Reed for pass interference—he just radios the referee and says, "Uh, hold up a second while I give this a little look-see." No sideline monitors. No coach's challenges. No whining over what's reviewable. Guess what? Everything's reviewable, up to and including Tagliabue's job.

It doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't have to be the Nuremberg trials. It isn't in hockey. The NHL just puts a man in a booth with his dozen favorite monitors. He sees something screwy, and he phones down and says, "Hang on, eh?" It usually takes about a minute and has the added advantage of being the correct call. Imagine that.

While you're at it, Tags, you need to...

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