The six worst words in sports: 'The play is under further review' | Adams
SEC coaches and administrators have plenty on their plate when the spring meetings begin Tuesday in Destin, Florida.
Most importantly, increased security will be needed to make sure famous feuding football coaches Nick Saban of Alabama and Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M are never within punching range of one another.
Also, considerable time must be devoted to whining about NIL collectives who are intent on making student-athletes as rich as offensive coordinators.
And a long-term planning committee must be formed to study future conference alignment when Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC in 2025.
But hopefully, someone will bring up "the play is under further review."
When I was first introduced to official reviews, I thought, “What a great idea. No fan will ever suffer from a missed officials’ call.”
But a missed call no longer bothers me nearly as much as the dreaded announcement: "The play is under further review."
College football is the worst when it comes to reviews for a couple of reasons. First, the targeting rule, which is impossible to enforce. Second, fake injuries.
Tennessee fans know all about the fake injuries. Coach Josh Heupel’s offense is so vulnerable to fake injuries that its players could develop a victim mentality.
It’s not UT’s fault that opposing defenses can’t line up fast enough. Defensive players cope by dropping to the ground as though they have been stricken with vertigo. You know what follows.
The seemingly disabled player remains prone while a trainer rushes to his aid. Minutes go by while the trainer attempts to diagnose the mysterious injury. More time passes as the trainer helps the player slowly make his way to the sideline. Every step could be his last.
Shortly after that, the player miraculously recovers without any medical attention and returns to the field – ready to deliver his next flop.
Targeting reviews can take longer than it does for a supposedly injured player to make the near-death march to the bench. And too often, the call is wrong. The targeting decisions are so random an official and accused player might as well play rock, paper, scissors to determine the outcome.
The very reason for video reviews was to make sure a call was correct. But they are anything but foolproof.
I never thought much about forward progress for the first half of the college football season – mainly because the rule is so rarely enforced anymore. If a single hair on a running back’s arm moves ever so slightly, that’s interpreted as forward progress. I concluded that a ball-carrier would have to be pinned to the ground before a play would be whistled dead.
That’s why I was shocked watching the Tennessee-Ole Miss game. The Vols seemingly had sacked and stripped the ball from Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, whose fumble was recovered and returned by Tyler Baron for a touchdown.
Officials ruled Corral’s forward progress had been halted. Never mind that he was being tackled.
I just watched it again. And guess what? Baron scored again, but the touchdown didn’t count. Ole Miss won by five points.
Then, there was the Music City Mistake.
Tennessee’s Jaylen Wright seemingly had scored a touchdown in overtime. I’ll spell it out for you: He was in the end zone with the football in his possession.
Nonetheless, officials ruled his progress had been stopped. No touchdown.
Moments later, Purdue kicked a field goal for a 48-45 victory.
Officials’ errors are part of the game – just like those of players, coaches and even sports columnists. So, I would rather accept human error than watch officials kill a game’s momentum by staring at a monitor until their eyes glaze over.
It’s not just football. Delays of game occur repeatedly in basketball. Sometimes, the delays are meaningless.
There’s nothing worse than watching officials study a monitor to determine whether three-tenths or six-tenths of a second remain in a 12-point game with under a minute to play.
That’s why I would love for SEC coaches recommend a one-minute limit on video reviews in football and basketball. Maybe, that would get the ball rolling.
With a time limit on reviews, officials still might get it wrong. But at least, they would get it wrong quicker.
John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or email@example.com. Follow him at: twitter.com/johnadamskns.