Even if you missed what happened at Churchill Downs on Saturday, there is no doubt you saw a post on social media about how instant replay was ruining another sports moment. After “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” appeared to be over, there were people in a small video room determining whether or not the winning horse or jockey illegally obstructed another horse on the way to a victory.
While the excitement wore off, the tension rose as the review took more than 20 minutes. During that span, the takes flew off fans’ keyboards with how instant replay has figured out another way to wreck one of the best sporting events of the year.
At the end of the review though, the correct call was made and it was just another example of why instant replay is crucial to sports.
While not every review has as much on the line as the Kentucky Derby does, people still seem to think it’s the end of the world when it takes more than 30 seconds. I mean if we can make the call from our couch within 30 seconds, why can’t they, right?
Obviously, there is a lot more that goes into every review and every replay angle that can be explained in a single column. However, it also seems like a simple concept to understand the worth of the replay.
Replays in football have been around for a long time and some crucial challenges have made the difference between a win and a loss during the regular season and the playoffs. And yes, there are still some missed calls and the process is not perfect but it is easy to tell it would be worse without it.
For the most part, complaints about an instant replay system comes from delaying or slowing down the game too often. In football, if your favorite team runs a fast-paced offense, you can probably name several times where you felt a review slowed your team without affecting the call on the field.
There are some people who think baseball is too slow (they’re wrong but that’s OK) so when replay was added, they thought it would make the game only worse. And once again, yes, there are delays but it is very rare when you find a case the delay isn’t worth it.
People will complain about reviews in basketball because most of them come in the most exciting part of the game. Officials have to zoom in as close as possible to find the slightest touch of the ball to determine an out-of-bounds call with two seconds left of a tied game and people do not have the patience for that.
But what happens if replay isn’t available in that situation? What happens if everyone at home can see the call on the court was wrong because of our high-definition televisions while the referees continued to get blamed while not being able to do anything about it?
That would ruin the game. Those are the kind of events that would make fans leave.
It’s not waiting an extra 60 seconds to watch the next play; it’s the disaster of finding out what happens when you have to rely on the human eye to officiate a game moving faster than ever.
Officials and referees already get blamed enough for missed calls because replay is available to everyone else watching at home. Having replay and review quickly available makes things a little bit easier for them.
It is not perfect; it may take some time but it is needed. And it is absolutely a good thing to have in sports.
Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for The Herald.