Why Does Instant Reply Exist if it Isn’t Used?


Allow me to save you some time and go ahead and pre-empt some of your comments. Some of you will want to chime in with a testoserone-laden statement that, “you shouldn’t put yourself in that position”…or “never let it come down to the last play”. To be fair, I can’t disagree with you when you make that kind of statement about a game with Akron. So, don’t bother repeating it.

And, please don’t misunderstand my comments in this entry. I am not “blaming the refs” or whining about how we lost since I agree that we shouldn’t be in such a situation with Akron. But, this game cannot pass without us having some comments about this topic.

Agreeing that (in a perfect world) a game with Akron shouldn’t come down to the last play is not an acceptable justification for incompetence by the officials at the game. Isn’t a reviewable spot of the ball in a game-deciding situation EXACTLY the kind of circumstance that has instituted an instant-replay system in college football?

Don’t misunderstand my expectations of the ACC officials who are generally considered to be the worst of the major conferences in America. I would truly NEVER expect college football officials to have the balls and the fortitude to actually over-ruled the play. When the obvious goal and focus of college football is to make the game as short as possible then you can’t expect folks to sit around and spend time doing due diligence.

But, since the officials were so quick to call a touchdown for the Zips then you know that they would have never deemed such a picture as “overwhelming video evidence” to repeal the call. (Oh…wait…unless, of course, the game was NC State @ UNC-CH and they would have had no problem over turning the game changing touchdown).

Was he down?

Even AFTER that picture, and a host of others on the internet, retiring ACC coordinator of football officials Tommy Hunt said that he is satisfied that referees made the correct call on Akron’s game-winning touchdown Saturday against N.C. State. (Link)

I think that it bothers me more that the play wasn’t even reviewed than it does that the play wasn’t overturned.

Update @ 10:25am
Nice comments from the Fayetteville Observer:

But it doesn’t matter whether the knee of Akron running back Dennis Kennedy hit the ground before the ball broke the plane of the end zone or not. If there’s a replay system in effect and a game-deciding score on the final play happens, it SHOULD be reviewed. Otherwise, what’s the point of having such a system?

In other words, don’t leave any doubt in anyone’s mind that you got it right. In that respect, the system failed Saturday, because a lot of people left Carter-Finley Stadium with doubt in their minds.

(2) Greensboro News & Record comments:

'06 Football General

72 Responses to Why Does Instant Reply Exist if it Isn’t Used?

  1. class of 74 09/11/2006 at 8:55 AM #

    If this had been our last play against Ohio St or Tennessee instead of Akron I’ll bet the response would have been different and deafening.

  2. StateFans 09/11/2006 at 8:58 AM #

    ^ EXACTLY!!

  3. former pack fan 09/11/2006 at 9:13 AM #

    Does anyone know the rule here? Is an elbow on the ground the same as a knee on the ground?

    SFN: elbow is most definitely the same as the knee

  4. BJD95 09/11/2006 at 9:16 AM #

    ^ good question

  5. Wulfpack 09/11/2006 at 9:18 AM #

    From what I understand, the play was looked at, but the crew didn’t have this angle. It’s terrible, just adds insult to injury. I really do feel badly for this team. Yes, we should be 2-0. Of course, we must improve quickly or this season will go downhill fast. Thanks for the post.

  6. choppack1 09/11/2006 at 9:19 AM #

    Yes, it is. Good article in the N&R on it. There is no excuse whatsover for no review of this play. Stuff like this is why Swofford and his lackies aren’t trusted. (You have to ask yourself, if this was UNC-Ch losing on the last play to a non-conference team what would Swoffies and Hunt’s reaction be.)

  7. waxhaw 09/11/2006 at 9:24 AM #

    chop — I know the answer to that question without asking it. This wouldn’t be tolerated in Chapel Hill. There would be outrage from numerous talking heads. I hope our athletics department is working behind the scenes to have the referees involved sanctioned. (although I’m afraid I know the answer to that also)

  8. packpigskinfan23 09/11/2006 at 9:32 AM #

    hahaha Lee Fowler try to sanction a referee!?!?!?!?! THAT is funny!

    very disturbing picture. my question, is why DIDN’T the officials have this angle?! this was a televised game, camera’s EVERY where… They should ALWAYS have a camera on BOTH sides of an endzone on a play like that. no matter what.

  9. packpigskinfan23 09/11/2006 at 9:46 AM #

    can someone please give me Lee Fowlers email address so I can at least feel good about trying to communicate my feelings about this… I think Fowler needs to stand up for his FANS at some point… his fans, his players, his coaches(who we all know he adores), EVERYONE. why is he always so quiet?

  10. noah 09/11/2006 at 9:48 AM #

    “From what I understand, the play was looked at, but the crew didn’t have this angle.”

    I don’t believe that. I was watching the bonus coverage on ESPN and listening to the radio. When Gary Hahn was talking about a review, I didn’t see what the problem was. Looked like he got in just fine to me. But then they showed the reverse angle and all of a sudden, I saw what they were talking about. There was a perfect camera angle showing the runner as he approached the end zone.

    Jeff: I was exactly the same way!

    That photo that is being posted is a screen-capture, isn’t it? Not a still-photo?

    At the very least, it warranted a review. I don’t know if they would have had enough evidence to warrant an overturn, but there certainly should have been a review.

  11. redfred2 09/11/2006 at 9:49 AM #

    This is the first I’ve seen of that picture. That is unbelievable and makes the referee’s quick departure inexcusable. I’m not going to whine about losing because of it, that happens, but to make a bee line for the exits only to come back and make a half hearted stab at calling the play as stands on the field, it’s just not right.

    Definitely would have changed all aspects and attitudes for the season and on this site anyway.

  12. BJD95 09/11/2006 at 9:50 AM #

    From a “human emotion” standpoint, of course there would be more rage if we had played a great game against a quality foe, to lose on a questionable call. In a sense, it IS easier to take when your opponent outplayed you and really desrved to win (as long as the opponent isn’t UNC).

    I agree with the position that the real outrage (if true) is if the play was not actually reviewed. In the game thread, I posted “Review?” because it was damned close on the live look. Admittedly, when I saw the real-time replay on TV, it looked like he got in. And it does take indisputable visual evidence to overturn the call. I’m not sure they could have got that based on the camera angles and time they had to work with.

    But I did expect to see the refs blow the whistle and keep the teams from leaving the field until the play was reviewed. Although the game would be over regardless, it definitely changes the psychology when the players and coaches are in the tunnel.

  13. ladywolf 09/11/2006 at 9:50 AM #

    Rule 4, Section 1, Article 3b
    Alive ball becomes dead and an official shall sound his whistle
    or declare it dead:
    b.When any part of the runner’s body, except his hand or foot, touches the
    ground or when the runner is tackled or otherwise falls and loses possession
    of the ball as he contacts the ground with any part of his body,
    except his hand or foot. (Exception: The ball remains alive when an
    offensive player has simulated a kick or is in position to kick the ball
    held for a place kick by a teammate. The ball may be kicked, passed or
    advanced by rule) (A.R. 4-1-3-I).

  14. cfpack03 09/11/2006 at 9:50 AM #

    Watching the Clemson-BC game, there were FIVE official-iniated instant reply reviews in the 2nd half alone, and this crew didn’t care enough to even review the game-deciding play once? (I highly doubt the official statement that the play was looked at, but the crew didn’t have this angle)

  15. redfred2 09/11/2006 at 9:54 AM #

    Reviewing the picture further, the elbow may not be down, the shadows may be making it appear as if it is though. Either way, he would had to have extended his arm straight out at that very split second to make it a TD.

    SFN: Agree with that. But, the “may or may not be down” part of that statement is EXACTLY why there should have been a review.

  16. MatSci94 09/11/2006 at 10:06 AM #

    I’m going to throw out a conspiracy theory that instant replay was not instituted to get the calls right, but to give TV networks the chance to throw in a few more comercials per game 🙂

  17. Gene 09/11/2006 at 10:10 AM #

    Go to gopack.com, and hit the link to the AD department. Lee’s e-mail is there. When the coaching search was going on, I got a few replies, mostly generic stuff like “thanks for the input, gopack”. I think I got one genuine reply, to an e-mail.

    I listened to the radio broadcast and the officials called a TD and ran off the field. The radio announcers were surprised they ran off the field so fast.

    Were these ACC refs? I always thought in non-conference games the refs are from the visiting teams conference.

  18. choppack1 09/11/2006 at 10:21 AM #

    Well, there was a gasp on the jumbotron from the folks in Carter Finley when the showed the replay. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THEM NOT REVIEWING THIS PLAY. IT IS THIS TYPE OF INCOMPETENCE DEMONSTRATED ON A WEEK IN WEEK OUT BASIS BY OFFICIALS THAT OUTRAGES ME TO NO END. The refs calling a TD, then running off the field was simply absurd, it should be surprising that Tommy Hunt and Swofford are defending it (but of course, it’s not.)

    SFN: You mean that they actually showed a controversial replay on the C-F screen? That is a first!

  19. ShootingGuard 09/11/2006 at 10:41 AM #

    You can’t blow this off due to the opponent being Akron or any “we shouldn’t have been in this position” stuff…

    Even the best teams—which we’re not—have challenging situations against lesser teams, and one play, one game, can make such a difference in the rest of your season…

    We are not going to win or even in be in the National Title race, but how many times, in basketball March Madness for example, have you seen a team narrowly escape a lesser program on a final play and have a nice run after that??

    Look at FSU, they are still in the Title hunt and won’t remember the Troy State game since they won it, especially if they run the table, but what if they had lost on a questionable play at the end?? All of their momentum and hopes for a Title season would have been crushed…

    We are no FSU, but the stakes were still high for what we could have reasonably accomplished this year. So. Miss. was always going to be a tough game with the real possibility for a loss, now we go down there 1-1 instead of 2-0—big difference—with BC and FSU to follow.

    That one play, that one outcome, makes a huge difference in the rest of our season…We are not a good team, and we haven’t played well, but we are fighting for respectability. Staying out in front at 2-0, 2-1 or 3-0, 2-2 or 3-1 or 4-0, etc. was so important…Now we are in worse trouble than before…

    Those refs should be hung for not reviewing the last play of a game like that where, in fast motion, there were questions about the knee even before the elbow. It would be the same if the roles were reversed and Akron was possibly screwed out of a big win. It’s a joke the way the refs ran off the field like that in a game ending situation…It was not a National Title game, but every team in the NCAA—Akron and NC State included—deserve the same importance given to “getting it right” as a higher stakes game would…Especially after all of the bonehead calls that refs have been shown to make over the years…A little review you [email protected]#$% refs…

  20. Trout 09/11/2006 at 10:47 AM #

    ^ Good points

  21. packpigskinfan23 09/11/2006 at 10:55 AM #

    I was at Jax’s Sports Bar on Gorman(they have ESPN U for those who may wonder next time this situation comes up) watching the game, and I thought it weird that teams/refs got off the feild so quick… I just figured it was part of beer and emotional drain that made it seem that way. redfred is right, there is a possiblity that he did extend just in time… but that play needs to be reviewed EVERY TIME. even if we were scored the TD.

  22. BoKnowsNCS71 09/11/2006 at 10:56 AM #

    I’d prefer to see a full cycle of pictures — not one shot. Film replay in slo mo would be best.

  23. choppack1 09/11/2006 at 10:57 AM #

    “SFN: You mean that they actually showed a controversial replay on the C-F screen? That is a first!”

    Ain’t that the truth. I still don’t get how the out come of dog races are more closely scrutinized than Division 1A football games. It’s somewhat unusual for the last play of a college football game to decide the outcome – everyone on the field, everyone watching the game understood this. The refs should have had it in the front of their mind that if anything was even close, they would review the play. This is really making me angry.

  24. Trout 09/11/2006 at 11:08 AM #

    Funny line I like: ” I knew we were in trouble in the 3rd quarter when the ref said, “Time out, North Carolina”.” 🙂

  25. Matt E. 09/11/2006 at 11:14 AM #

    It’s my understanding that every play is reviewed by someone in the booth. Then, if they find something that needs to be looked at further they buzz the officials. The officials on the field never view the replays at all. Everything is handled by the replay official.

    The other key thing to remember is the term “indisputable video evidence.” That is the only way that a play will be over turned from the call on the field. I cant tell 100% from that picture that his elbow is actually down or that the tip of the ball hasn’t already crossed the line. Can you?

    The officials on the field didn’t run off the field very quickly, I watched them and they stayed there for a good minute or more. I think the replay official reviewed the play, realized there wasn’t “indisputable video evidence” and didn’t buzz the officials.

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