Here are some of the things replay has ruined:
- Pace. It's very possible that replay is what prevented Oregon from competing in the national championship on Monday.
- Refereeing. All calls are provisional now. I even heard the color announcer Monday night praising the referees for making a call precisely to provoke a review so they could see what really happened.
- The rulebook. The infamous Calvin Johnson rule is only one example. Verities on which I have built my life -- the ground cannot cause a fumble, for instance -- are now subordinate to bizarre standards that stretch the definitions of "catch," "fumble," "possession," and even "move" into absurdity.
- Touchdowns. Even though the new rules require players to "control the ball" all the way through their fall to the ground and beyond, the "break the plane" standard for touchdowns means that as soon as the ball pierces that barrier, nothing that happens thereafter matters. Players shove the ball toward the plane knowing that even if it leaves their hands, they still score.
- Consequences. Coaches have challenges, which was supposed to keep the play moving on the field so that every incident wasn't litigated in replay. But now referees call for reviews much more often than coaches, and certain plays are automatically reviewed, so the coaches don't have to make those calculations about whether it's worth it to challenge.
If I ever teach that class on philosophy of sports again, I'm going to hold a class full of students hostage with that rant. I hope somebody in the league offices is wise and powerful enough to ski off this slippery slope before then.