With the availability and quality of current replay technology I would not be surprised to see the head referee position move to the monitor banks. Refs on the ground act as eyes, ears, and enforcement narrowing down the global field of view that the cameras have. All calls then come down from "On High", with review as needed.
On ground refs submit calls to the head ref, play is reviewed as needed, official call is made by head ref/review team. With the speed of technology, this could be almost as fast as current live reffing, and (usually) more reliable.
The objective of a referee is to apply the rules of the game properly. The problem is that when replay review was permitted, the *scope* of review was *restricted* in order to maintain the importance of the officials on the ground live, as if there were no video available (like the typical high school or college game). Otherwise *everything* could be done remotely (at the NFL level) and there would be no need for officials in the midst of the action.
I can certainly see this interpreted as a case of human action not keeping up with available technology.
In my mind, the true objective of a referee is not to avoid second guessing a fellow ref. The true objective is to ensure a fair game. I may be ignorantly idealistic in thinking that, but not allowing calls to be reviews strikes me as being quite similar to the corporate version: "I don't know why we do it that way, but we always have."
A few additions to the record. According to what the two ESPN idiots (Tirico & Gruden) were saying... (OK, they're idiots, but they seem to know the rules better than the replacement refs.) According to T&G, once a ref has signaled a touchdown, even if another ref disagreed, it's a touchdown. This can be overruled by a conference among the officials on the field, but the officials on the field did not even THINK about conferring. Apparently, it is up to the ref signalling the touchdown to determine the issue of "simultaneous possession." I'm not sure if this is true, but according to T&G, possession was not decided by the replay officials. According to T&G, the ONLY issue they were allowed to decide, since the touchdown call was irrevocable, was whether the player scoring the phantom "touchdown" (Golden Tate) was in bounds when he pretended to "catch" the ball. Admittedly, all these issues are extremely muddy. Two things are more certain: 1) If a field official MISSES an act of pass interference call, even one as blatant and criminal as Golden Tate's Eternal Moment of Shame, the replay officials cannot correct this gross injustice. Penalty calls (and non-calls) are, by rule, not reviewable -- and probably should nt be. 2) M.D. Jennings caught the ball.
One other sidelight: The official, Lance Easley, who blew the call and became a laughingstock for the rest of his worthless life, was -- before his elevation to Monday Night Football, a high school ref. Shades of Eddie the Eagle!
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