For as long as there’s been football, the process has been this: Team scores touchdown, fans and players celebrate, kicker boots the extra point, life goes on. This year, though, the whole process is being put on hold.
An NFL official will review every single scoring play this season, and if he deems it to be even the least bit questionable, he will alert the on-field referee. That referee will then put the game on hold to go under the hood and determine if the score was indeed good.
It didn’t seem like the biggest deal when the news was announced, but Thursday night, as preseason action opened in New England, fans were treated to a whole lot of waiting around.
The first came when Stevan Ridley fought his way across the goal line. It was the rookie’s first taste of an NFL end zone, so he celebrated. And then he waited. And waited. Eventually, referee Ed Hochuli confirmed Ridley had indeed crossed the goal line. The best part was that replays were inconclusive and he probably was down with the ball still an inch or two from the goal line.
Hochuli had to run about 90 yards from the end zone to the replay machine just to determine that a guy who had clearly caught a football had indeed caught a football. At that point, longtime patriots radio play-by-play announcer Gil Santos clearly got upset, saying that this new system is really going to annoy fans.
It’s not the end of the world, and it might help overturn a bad call at some point, but NESN.com’s Jeff Howe may have said it best: “I remember eight days ago when the officials said the new TD review system wouldn’t delay games. I wish I could have that conversation back.”
Were you bothered by the long replay reviews during Thursday night’s game?
“We didn’t rest anybody.”
–Bill Belichick, after most of his starters didn’t play in the Patriots’ preseason opener Thursday night
In New England, this qualifies as a crisis. Fortunately, the Red Sox are back at it on Friday night.
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