Every-Thing Sports

To review or not to review, that is the question

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Officials have been at the heart of way too many decisions in all major sports. Whether it's a blown call, a call not overturned when reviewed, or a call being apologized for after it has ruined a game, things are getting more out of hand as opposed to them getting any better. I wrote about this earlier this year, but it's time to revisit the issue. There are so many varying factors as to why officiating needs to be addressed, but here are some of the things I think are most critical:

Challenges

Now that all major pro sports have some sort of challenge system, they all need to be fine tuned. What can/can't be challenged, the time in which a challenge can be issued, and how many times a team can challenge a call all need to be fine tuned. I believe the number of timeouts should be tied to the number of challenges. Challenges need to be made in a decisive fashion, which means...

Who makes the final ruling?

Whoever makes the final ruling on challenges needs to be held just as, if not more, accountable as the officials making the calls on the field of play. There needs to be an assigned replay official for every game with a team ready and already reviewing every call to ensure accuracy. They can also serve as feedback for officials' grading process, which factors into which officials and/or crews are allowed to preside over postseason games/series. These people need to be former and/or current officials, along with former players to ensure a balance is there. I say former players because the officials have a way of protecting their own. Prime example: the way NFL refs piss all over the pass interference challenges. There needs to be a more definitive, concise, and efficient way to rule on challenges instead of watching officials look at a monitor with an earpiece in until they're ready to tell the crowd what they've found out.

Postgame press availability

Coaches and players have been made to answer the media's questions pre and postgame for as long as I can remember. While there are specific times in which the media has access to coaches and players, officials have never been called to the carpet when it comes to media availability. The NBA refs has an official Twitter account that answers questions and puts out info from their perspective. Other leagues tend to leave it to the league's official Twitter accounts, or more specifically, the media that covers those sports to put out such info. How much of a game changer would it be to see and hear from the officials themselves? Officials in most sports try to make themselves apart of the action anyway. Why not give them the spotlight so many of them crave anyway? After all, some of them are failed athletes in the sport they're officiating in anyway.

Is there anything I left out? Am I off-base here? What do you guys think? Some that know me will assume this is a reactionary piece to my Saints losing to the 49ers, and they'd be dead ass wrong. This is about the kid who was so fascinated by the September 20, 1993 Monday Night Football matchup of Joe Montana's Chiefs vs John Elway's Broncos on that his parents got a portable TV set that could plug into a cigarette lighter so he could watch the game while we were on a road trip back home. This is about the grown man who's sick of hearing the fans and media alike complain, make excuses, and banter about poor officiating. It's about games that I, and most of you, love to watch that are getting ruined far too often because of what most consider "human error." While technology has made several improvements on officiating, there's still some room for improvement. Let's make this happen dammit! I'm sick of writing about this! it's time for action!

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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