You see it time and time again, football games blown on a bad call. The official makes a small blunder and fans all over the world are throwing popcorn, the remote, and whatever else is in reach at their television monitor. Referees in the NFL are constantly under the spotlight and have to think quick as they watch each play, sometimes without a clear view. This is why the NFL introduced the replay system in the 1999 season.
The system begins with the replay booth receiving a live feed from the network television control truck covering the game. A buzzer system is utilized to signal the call for a replay. Before the final two minutes, the head coach can buzz the referee and replay booth that he challenges a play and wants a review. Within the final two minutes, the booth can buzz the referee, calling for a replay. The head coaches wear a belt pack containing a buzzer. When pressed, the buzzer simultaneously signals the referee, umpire and replay booth that a replay is being requested. There are three replay monitors at field level in open-air stadiums. Two monitors are positioned at opposite 20-yard lines near the sideline wall. A third is in a runway, for use if there is inclement weather. Two monitors are used in domed stadiums. As the referee approaches the monitor, his first replay awaits him. His 90 seconds for a decision begins when he puts on the headphones that put him in contact with the replay booth. It is quite obvious the NFL put a lot of thought and planning into the replay system. The replay systemâ€™s structure is very complex and introduced to better the game and prevent officiating errors. It was to be the end of all bad calls and no blind referee would ever cost a team victory again. Well, at least in theory.
The replay system has its pros and cons. Of course, people are going to praise it because it gives referees two minutes to review what just happened in ten seconds right in front of them.