Wednesday Apple Pie

The NFL needs to throw the challenge flag on the whole replay system. In fact they need to throw in the towel too, for instant replay doesn't work.

Forget that for years the game had been played under the watchful eyes of the zebra crew only. Forget that during those years of play, many errors in judgment had been made. In the end, it didn't make a difference, but we've been led to believe years of grossly inadequate decision-making have been perpetrated against this great game. Human error was deemed unacceptable and the argument went forth that with the help of "Big Brother," the losers and whiners could throw a little red flag and get instant redemption.

Instant redemption…just add water. The losers and the whiners told us it would only take 1.5 minutes for a decision and the verdict would show the truth behind the near-sighted zebras' mistakes.

Small voices questioned, "But what about checks and balances?"

The losers and the whiners explained, "Why, we'll allow only 2 challenges a game. If the challenge is not upheld the result is a lost timeout. And, in the final two minutes challenges will only be made be the replay official."

And for a moment, it sounded glorious, a game without a possibility of mistake by those overseeing the rules and no chance of abuse by coaches: a utopia with cleats and cheerleaders.

Small voices now screamed in protest. They pleaded, "But why fix something that doesn't need fixed?"

The ears were now deaf to those who wouldn't believe, while the losers and the whiners were parading their newfound popularity.

But, along the way to the city of Oz, something happened. The ebb and flow of action stagnated. And the final two minutes slowed to an apparent stop.

Yet, the losers and whiners exclaimed the right decisions were being made and human error would never be a problem again. "The solution is still correct," they said.

Then one winter's evening everything changed. It started out like all the previous replays. The infamous "tuck" ruling happened. And the losers and the whiners jumped for joy because they had once again overcome human error. But this time, the expense was more than they bargained for because the winners transformed into losers and whiners.

In the short time of 2 years, the NFL is now a league of losers and whiners and instant redemption has become instant controversy.

And a dirty little secret has now been let out of the mouths of the losers and the whiners: Human error remains.

You see, unless a full automation of the officiating takes place, human error will always be a part of the game. And no matter how much control you take out of the hands of the humans, you inevitably open the door for bigger and more shocking mistakes.

For example, had there been no instant replay, the Oakland Raiders would have defeated the New England Patriots in Foxboro two years ago. As the off-season would have progressed, the "tuck" rule would have came out to light and the losers and whiners would have protested. But, in the spirit of the game, the Patriots would have realized that the play was a fumble in every shape and form. The winners remain winners and the losers remain losers.

But, with instant replay, that very same spirit of the game vanishes in the same way it did that snowy January night. It makes losers and whiners out of every coach. It places more pressure on the shoulders of the hardest job in sports: officiating. And it completely disrupts the flow to any game, especially in the final two minutes.

Sadly, instant replay tarnishes the game of football rather than polishing the edges, as was its original damnable attempt. And, it bequeaths to football the most grotesque American tradition of all: Rewarding the losers.

Fruits of Labor (stock is rising)

Rotten Produce (stock is falling)

  • Chris Fuamatu'Mafala The clock struck midnight for this fan favorite. It is only too fitting that an injury seals his fate.


  • Do I need repeat myself again? Please, Steeler fans, breathe deeply and exhale. Have a cocktail, put on a good old movie, and don't worry about this team until Week 2. If you do, then you'll give yourselves an ulcer.
  • Also, be happy that this franchise isn't the Atlanta Falcons. What do you do for 6 weeks when your season is sitting on the bench?
  • The Cleveland Browns made the right decision in picking Kelly Holcomb over Tim Couch. It was obvious last year that the team responded better to Holcomb than Couch.
  • I understand that officiating crews have a preseason too, but the awful decision-making on the part of these zebras is getting insanely ridiculous. You know it's a big problem when the opposing team's announcing crew is mocking the officials on a call that went in the advantage of their squad.
  • The Ravens are sure to run Jamal Lewis. Cowher's right about that. He just failed to mention that Chris Redmen will be throwing to Todd Heap like he's the reincarnation of Mark Bavaro.
Ready for Picking

Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers
August 21th, 8:00 pm at Heinz Field

The #1 announcing team from FOX comes to town and I will watch at least half of this preseason game, two things that rarely happen.

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos
August 25th, 8:00 pm at Invesco Field

Regardless of the fact that I'll be celebrating another year of birth, this game should be fun to watch for about 2 quarters. Remember, the Colts stole a win on a Sunday night in October over these same Broncos last season. I remember it as the game when I woke up a floor of hotel patrons with a scream of surprise when Mike Vanderjagt kicked his 50+ winning field goal on a snow-covered field.

Post of the Week

naca72 gives a little perspective on the life and loves of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. Congratulation naca72! Your imaginary gift is in the mail.

I wondered how long it was going to take this little tid-bit to get back to the folks on this board.

Alright. First off, Ray Lewis is not a murderer...he's a liar. I realize that he lied about murder, but it is still not the same thing. Is Jerome Bettis a rapist? No.

I can never understand why players (or coaches) say things like this. Every team has someone who shoots his mouth off on a regular basis unneccessarily. (We have a couple...McAlister, Jamal, Ray (although Ray always backs up his smack) All it does is give the other team a reason to get up for the game. I just don't see the reason for it. A couple of points why I think Billick is an idiot in THIS instance. For the most part I like Billick as a coach, but there are more than a few reasons why things like this should go unsaid:

1) Pittsburgh is a notoriously slow-starting team. Why give them fuel for the fire to get up for the start of the season. The detriments are two-fold.
a) The players will be up for the first game, making it harder for Baltimore to escape with a win.
b) The Steelers have divisional opponents 3 of the first 5 weeks. If they start the season slowly, Baltimore could maybe get a leg up on them. If they hit the ground running, Baltimore cannot afford any missteps.

2) For a person to even have a reason to think they can talk smack, that person has to have proven that they can back it up on a regular basis. Last time I checked, Baltimore has NEVER won the AFC North (or Central for that matter). Until that changes, Pittsburgh is the team to beat...again.

3) If Billick thinks the players get hyped up when an opposing coach talks smack about another team, he should think how that team's FANS feel about it. Baltimore already gets a sizable contingent of Pittsburgh fans in the stadium for a regular Steelers@Ravens game. Imagine what it'll be like with the national television game for the last game of the season with the (hopefully) division up for grabs. Is he TRYING to get the stadium full of yellow towels?

I think Billick is a smart guy. But in this instance, he could have used MUCH better judgement. Do I think Baltimore has a legitimate shot of winning the division? Yes. Do I prefer to just simply say that instead of talking smack to a team that has beaten us 5 straight? Yes. (Is it 5 straight? Or 4? Or 6?!)

John Biles

Steel City Insider Top Stories