Hail to the Sports Techie NFL

Hail to the Sports Techie NFL. They had instant replay challenge technology and rules integrated into the game of Professional football in order to assist their officials in getting the call right during the 2012 New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers, NFC Championship game played at Candlestick Park stadium.

Picture via FoxSports replay:

The Knee of 49ers returner Kyle Williams hits the football on FoxSports tape

At the 11:08 mark of the 4th quarter with the Giants losing 14-10, the GMen are forced to punt the ball. Kyle Williams, the 49ers kick returner, allowed the football to ricochet off his own right knee except that none of the refs on the field saw it happen with their own eyes; however, there it was in high-def instant replay and super slo-mo for a record setting 48.7 million Fox Sports viewers to clearly see that it indeed did happen. Head Coach Tom Coughlin used a Challenge and he won, thus giving the Giants some badly needed Big Mo at a time when the end of the game momentum was on the side of the 49ers.

Punt Fumble off Kyle Williams Knee in 49ers Giants game:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7XoVOsRZjQ (if this video is blocked already, simply search Youtube and you will find a fresh copy that has not been taken down yet.)

As it turned out, this historical Sports Techie moment might have saved the ALLIN N.Y. Giants season because Kyle Williams ended up fumbling another punt at his own 25-yard line with 9:35 to go in overtime that led to the GMen kicking a winning field goal earning the NFL’s oldest franchise the right to play in Super Bowl XLVI against the New England Patriots.

This, however, was not the case for the Baltimore Ravens who lost to the Pats in a thrilling ending to the AFC Championship game where instant replay was not used when I say it should have been. What I still don’t get is the following: why did the refs not go to the booth when Lee Evans almost scored the winning touchdown from the 14-yard line with 22 seconds left and the games outcome hanging in the balance after playing nearly 60 grueling minutes? No matter that they probably got the call right on the field in the end, this play was way, way too large to not bring instant replay in too assist in making sure that what the refs saw really happened on tape.

When a runner is in the air and reaches the ball across the goal line the NFL in fact does stop time because if he fumbles it after it breaks the plane, the play is over, anything that occurs after the crossing like a fumble is null and void.

When a possible reception like Lee’s happens out on the field, no question he must complete the entire catch meaning as he hits the ground or is being stripped, he cannot be juggling it at all.

Now, is it just me or does anyone else, especially Ravens fans, feel that he might have had two hands on the ball with both toes down for perhaps a legit touchdown at that exact moment in the endzone?

Ravens Lee Evans Dropped Touchdown Pass Looses Playoff Game againts Patriots 23 – 20 Today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w_he0iEqlg.

When the precise moment of a ballerina type tippy toe catch happens in the end zone, I believe that act should stop game time and be an automatic booth review rule, not the Solution that was in place. Either way, NO booth review occurred on this critical AFC Championship play with the Ravens 2011 season on the line. I feel like the refs guessed right this time but next time during Super Bowl 46, they might not and with no automatic review rule in place at times like this in the game, it might be the NFL’s next epic Sports Techie fail, not hail.

There are many plays in all games, no doubt about that but in the end, when the game is on the line, it is hyper critical to get the call right using all available resources while placing old rules and egos aside for the greater good. FIFA and MLB take note of the NFL and how they used sports technology to help create an epic finish to a wonderful football game. You would be wise to keep pace.

I will see ya when I see ya, Sports Techie

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