Seth Emerson has a good run down on the thinking behind the SEC’s shiny new collaborative replay review set up.
A command center in Birmingham, where the SEC offices are located, will be manned by three replay officials. They will work in tandem with the replay official on site at each SEC home game.
The ultimate, final decision still belongs to the main replay official.
“But if you’re going against the three guys in the command center, you better be able to bet your career that you’re right,” SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said, smiling.
I get that the conference remains concerned about targeting and worries that some calls are being missed. It’s a good thing about which to be vigilant. Buuuuttt… (and you knew one was coming, right?) I can’t help but wonder if another level of buck passing is inevitable.
Remember, the way the conference defended the initial version of the targeting rule, with its automatic 15-yard penalty regardless of whether the call on the field stood on review, was to let the officials on the field know they had their backs. Flags needed to fly, err on the side of caution, etc. The penalty call is no longer enforceable if targeting is waved off by the replay official on site, so at some point, cooler heads weighed in and prevailed on what led to certain travesties.
Now the replay official on site has someone looking over his shoulder. And ultimate, final decision or not, if you’re that guy, do you really want to find out if Steve Shaw was kidding?
If they’re still missing targeting calls after this, do they introduce another level of review above the conference command office? I mean, why not? Either that, or crowd source it…