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Replay, good or bad

Does reviewing plays hurt sports?

Would the world be better with or without instant replay?

That question surfaced after reading a recent column by Norman Chad in the Spokesman-Review.

Chad summed up his feelings, which he says he’s had all his life, that we should play the games, make the calls and move on.

That’s certainly true of my generation, where we learned to live with poor decisions.

“This worked really, really well for a really, really long time,” Chad said. “These days, the overriding focus at the game is the officiating; if you’re watching the games for the officiating, you’re not watching the games anymore. In addition, the repeated delays interrupt the flow of the action and suck away all the drama and, to put it mildly, it goes against the natural order of things.”

Chad wants his children’s children to enjoy a replay-free America.

I doubt we can go back now that we’ve gone forward with replay.

The problem is once you crack a tradition, you soon create a huge crevasse.

Baseball umpires in the past, at their discretion, could review replays to determine if a possible home run ball was fair or foul when it cleared the fence.

Starting this year, managers can challenge at least one play during a game, sometimes more depending on whether they win the initial challenge.

Don’t be shocked if basketball and football soon amplify replay rules, allowing an official looking at one challenged play (or even the automatic review of a score in football) to call a penalty if they see another infraction in the process.

The organizers of the World-Famous Suicide Race, which follows each Omak Stampede Rodeo the second week in August, did just that last summer.

On a review of another horse at the starting line, they disqualified Abe Grunlose and Commando for allegedly having the rear hooves over the starting line when the starter’s pistol fired.

Race organizers said several times that if someone challenged a start or finish, any other violations caught by the camera would also lead to penalties.

If National Football League officials had been allowed that decision-making power Sept. 24, 2012, they undoubtedly would have negated Seattle’s final play against Green Bay.

Quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seahawks threw a Hail Mary pass into the end zone toward Golden Tate as time expired. Tate went up with a defender. Both players were still in the air and attempted to gain possession.

Two officials near the play called it a touchdown.

A review did not overrule the field judgment of a simultaneous catch going to the receiver.

The replay (done after every score) showed prior to the catch Tate getting room by shoving with two hands another Packers defender. According to an NFL press release after the game, “The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball. In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable.”

So no matter how you slice it, replay has changed our viewing of sports, and probably will continue to impact it far into the future for our children’s children.

Life lessons learned in sports now include living with replay.

Al Camp is the sports editor at

The Chronicle. Email him at


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