Instant replay underused across the board

Debate over instant replay in professional sports has been raging on for years now, and a few notable examples from recent months have lit a fire underneath me to finally take a side on it.
Whenever possible, do it.
The straw that broke the camel’s back came on Saturday night while watching the Calgary Stampeders take a 23-20 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (admittedly, an odd and, all things considered, unimportant time considering several of the following examples).
Calgary’s rookie kicker Rob Maver booted two field goals that both my dad and I had doubts about.
The first came just a couple minutes into the fourth quarter and gave the Stamps a 20-11 lead, but looked as though it went straight over the goal post, meaning the three points should not have counted.
The second score, coming with fewer than four minutes remaining in the game, put the Stampeders up 23-18, and was one that TSN (much less the officials) never replayed, despite appearing to go wide.
The CFL, which adopted instant replay in 2006, has it right for the most part, allowing head coaches to challenge a multitude of calls.
However, a missed field goal, which should be a cut-and-dried call during replay, was not included in that laundry list.
It’s hard to say that a particular call made a difference in the game, as the Bombers were afforded numerous opportunities to answer the three points, highlighted by a Brock Ralph drop in the end zone late in the game.
It’s not as though the team really played well enough to win, all around, as they were dominated by the Stampeders in pretty much every category except for on the scoreboard.
Still, missed opportunities like the ones above leave a sour taste.
Think back to last month’s World Cup, where an egregiously bad call cost England a deserved 2-2 tie on a Frank Lampard goal that fell into the net well beyond the goal line, but was head-scratchingly waved off.
Instead, the English went on to lose to Germany 4-1 and was knocked out of the tournament.
Even earlier this summer, MLB umpire Jim Joyce admitted he blew a call at first base, which would have been the third out of the ninth inning, that cost Detroit’s Armando Gallaraga a perfect game.
Gallaraga received accolades for keeping calm, and Joyce admitted after the game he messed up and felt horrible about it, and it ended up being a heartwarming story for all involved.
Well, until Gallaraga struggled and was sent down to triple-A Toledo (though he was recently recalled by the Tigers).
Yes, officials have a tough job, and they can be easy to rag on.
It’s nowhere near the pressure, but I was a hockey official in my younger days, and even with young kids playing, there were sometimes some tough calls, and once or twice, it would have been nice to get a second look.
There’s just something to be said for getting a call right.
Some leagues resist instant replay by saying that it removes the human element of refereeing, and in one sense, it’s not hard to agree.
Humans make mistakes, and can miss field goals or regular goals or balls hit into play, sure.
But given the chance to be absolutely correct is fantastic, especially when it’s a “was it or wasn’t it” type of play—cut-and-dried like I mentioned before.
That’s not to say that robo-refs should be sent out and calling each game to the letter of the law.
NHL referees, for example, can still decide to put the whistle away a little bit in the late stages of a close game, or an MLB umpire can still decide to have a hitter-friendly or pitcher-friendly strike zone.
There’s your human element, where things can be left up to interpretation a little bit more, just as long as it’s applied fairly.
And of course, even with instant replay, there are cases where calls won’t be correct, just because of the positioning of players, cameras, or both. That’s the way things go.
Fans go to watch the players play, and not to see the referees ref, but it would be fantastic if the officials were afforded a little more support than they’re getting in order to see the players get full benefit of their efforts.

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