Clear and obvious

I’ve read this three times now, wondering if replay can really be that sensibly applied.

That’s why Thursday’s statement by Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie was so refreshing. Read it in full below.

With the 2019 CFL regular season about to kick off, we want to be as clear as possible on the role of the Command Centre, the standard on which it will conduct video reviews and the philosophy behind that standard. The Command Centre will focus on only overturning calls or non-calls made on the field where a clear and obvious mistake has been made.  In other words, we do not want the game officiated from the Command Centre. The officials on the field have the best sense of the game and usually have a superior vantage point compared to a camera on the sidelines or in the stands.

The Command Centre is just a “back up” to correct clear and obvious mistakes – what are sometimes called egregious errors. Anyone who has played the game, or cheered for a team, knows how one views any play can be somewhat subjective. So how do we, as objectively as possible, define clear and obvious?  Clear refers to the visibility of the issue in question. Can you see, for example, the ball clearly on the replay? Or the foot on the sideline? Is the camera angle straight down the line? Or is it off to the side? Obvious refers to an indisputable reference point, such as a yard line, a sideline, or a knee down. Can you easily see, for example, that the contact on a receiver was early? Or do you have to resort to looking at it in slow motion?

Simply put, you shouldn’t have to watch something several times, or watch at different speeds, if it is clear and obvious. Why is clear and obvious our standard? Why not strive to get every single call right, even if the error was less than clear and obvious?  We want to keep the length of Command Centre reviews reasonable. We do not want video review to slow the pace or flow of the game. We especially do not want it to adversely affect our fans’ enjoyment of the game.

Watching players stand around while the Command Centre looks at a play for a long time is simply not fun. We also want to reduce the total number of challenges by making sure our coaches know they should not use a challenge to simply seek a second opinion; they should only use it to challenge clear and obvious mistakes.

I’m having a hard time arguing it can’t.  What do you guys think?  Is common sense a bitch, or not?

24 Comments

Filed under College Football

24 responses to “Clear and obvious

  1. Greg

    “Tyler Simmons was onside”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jasper Sanks did not fumble!

      Like

    • mwo

      Clearly and obviously!

      Like

    • And for those who say the Bama player false started, you couldn’t see that at full speed. It was clear and obvious Simmons was onside and legally blocked the kick.

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      • Macallanlover

        The two are not really connected, the nano second movement did not draw Simmons off sides, he wasn’t anyway, and was on the other side of the line. False starts are missed often, a player being on side by a full yard is never called off side, never. Very odd.

        And if we are going to take away the blocked kick because of a false start call, lets get the missed false start by Harris on his TD reception. UGA didn’t choke that lead, we beat them, but the 2nd half offensive plan allowed it to remain close enough that the 4 blown calls were enough to get Bama to OT.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mayor

          Bama is pretty damn good Mac. They don’t need much help. And all the blown calls went one way. The game was fixed. The refs were never going to let Georgia win. If they had to do something even more flagrant to make Bama the winner they would have done so.

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  2. TNDAWG

    This was original intent of replay. It has gone to the ridiculous now. Watching a play 10 times to determine where the knee was down. Totally stupid. Like what the CFL is trying.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patrick

    The future of football refereeing is 1-2 guys on the field to spot the ball and keep the peace. The other 5-6 guys are in the command centre making all the calls in real time and buzzing down to the on-field guys to stop play for penalties.
    There is no replay. There is just real-time refereeing using all available technology.
    On-field guys don’t have the best vantage point anymore. Holding onto them is like holding onto the milkmen who would come to your door. Antiquated.

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    • Welcome to the 5+ hour game in your world. You can’t put enough cameras on the field to make this work.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patrick

        The cameras are already there. Definitely for the NFL, and probably for major college football as well.
        I think the game would go faster. Zero replay.
        Each ref would watch a camera in real time that shows their player assignments. Buzz down for penalty.

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      • Patrick

        The cameras are already there. Definitely for the NFL, and probably for major college football too.
        I think the games would go faster. Zero replay.
        Each ref watches a real-time camera feed of his designated player assignments. Buzzes down for penalties.

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  4. 86BONE

    What a Snowflake….

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  5. Russ

    Yeah, but we’re not as polite as Canadians. We won’t rest until every call goes “our” way. (By “we” I mean American football fans).

    Yeah, I’m being snarky. I wish replay could be that easy.

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  6. practicaldawg

    It’s “clear and obvious” that bad calls will remain of feature of the game forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Whiskeydawg

    Take the command center and turn it back into a storage room. Remove instant replay from having anything to do with the calls on the field. Yes mistakes will be made but mistakes are made now. Give the game back to the referees, use the technology to improve their training, but don’t make them slaves to it. Has treating every perceived penalty like the Zapruder film made the game more enjoyable?

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    • Faltering Memory

      No.

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    • Connor

      Will the game be more enjoyable to you when the millions of people watching on TV see dozens of missed calls in real time? The only reason replay exists is the TV product got so good it was impossible to ignore that mistakes were happening constantly. If you think fans would all just shrug their shoulders with a good natured “c’est la vie” as they watched these missed calls go against their team and say “thank god we don’t have replay slowing things down” you must be living in a different world.
      On field refs dressed like zebras performing elaborate semaphore to alert a large crowd to the infraction they just saw while hundreds of HD camera are recording every inch of the field and showing each play in super slo motion seconds after it occurs is doomed. Why don’t we ban accountants from using Excel, or doctors from using MRIs?

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  8. Mayor

    What bothers me is when the replay does show the call was wrong and they don’t reverse it or, even worse, the replay shows the call was right and they DO reverse it. Seems to me particularly in the SEC someone is using replay to fix games or at least shave or enhance points.

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  9. “Clear and obvious” is just another way to say “indisputable.” They didn’t come up with a new system, they are just using different words. I see things that are “clear and obvious” in real time on my tv that the refs cannot get right with the benefit of replay. I think a better way is to get rid of the “call stands” option. If you review it, you have multiple angles and you can extrapolate enough to make a decision. Either it is this or that. Don’t let them weasel out of making a tough call by letting a play stand as called because sometimes a play is called a certain way because they know they have replay as a backup. That is especially true for targeting penalties. Letting the play stand when the ref errs on the side of penalty in those situations is cowardice.

    Personally, I like for the calls to be right. The technology is there. It is whether the powers that be want subjective, BS calls to play a part in the outcome of a game or not. It feels like they want that little leeway because when they are on the field they have a better “feel” for what is happening. In other words, they can get caught up in momentum swings and it can impact their judgment. That is why having the replay crew outside of the stadium makes so much sense. SEC officiating has gotten better since replay came around. Taking it away or limiting reviews by some arbitrary “clear and obvious” metric will only take it back to the glory days of Penn Wagers and Marc Curles.

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    • Minnesota Dawg

      Completely agree with this post. Semantics at work.

      Handwashing of bad calls simply explained as “Replay official didn’t feel that it was ‘clear and obvious’ in this case.” Accordingly….same as it ever was (in the age of replay).

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