The Couch Slouch

Upon even further review, NFL replay isn't solving anything

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In an adult lifetime of myriad miscalculation, I have been absolutely right about only three things – the delight of Popeyes chicken, the danger of the Internet and the disaster of replay as an officiating tool.

This must be at least the seventh time I have written about replay after pledging to never write about replay again.

Since the first version of replay was used by the NFL in 1986, I have argued that this is a long road to ruin. For those of you just joining us in America, let's review the basics again:

Replay shatters the flow of the game.

Replay reduces the spontaneous joy of the game.

Replay changes how we watch the game.

All of this in the name of the mantra of replay ruffians: We've got to get it right.

Actually, we don't have to get it right – a missed call here and there has yet to tumble any republic – and, actually, despite all the time they take, they sometimes still don't get it right.

For a moment, let's give the yahoos the benefit of the doubt and assume that, with replay, they now get it right all of the time.

So what?

Are we better off?

If replay were used during, say, a honeymoon, I guess that might ensure that eventually you would get it right, but it really takes all the romance out of it, no?

In certain areas of life, getting it is right is simply not that critical.

Yes, with education, health care and climate change, you want to get it right.

But pass interference?

A nation turns its lonely eyes to the side judge?

During the Chiefs-Raiders game on CBS Sept. 15, Jim Nantz and Tony Romo were talking about how the standard for the challenge to overturn a call or a non-call on pass interference is "egregious," not just that it is "clear and obvious." Huh? It either is or isn't – why is it a matter of degree? Isn't the replay done to take out the subjective element and this just adds a subjective element to it?

Heck, my Twitter account filed a workers comp suit against me for the overload caused by all the pass-interference contretemps in last Thursday night's Eagles-Packers game.

Pass interference is this season's holy grail of replay; it was inevitable. Slowly but surely, we will reach the point in which every play of every game is reviewed.

For replay as an officiating tool, my friends, is a slippery slope, which causes "slippery slope syndrome" – from the Latin slopus slipperitis syndromus – first identified by Eratosthenes on a Carnivalus Cruise to Crete in 223 B.C.

Are some of you still baffled by the perils of a slippery slope?

Basically, it is a slope that is slippery. Why is this important? Because when you are on a slope, it is hard to get solid footing because you are on a slope. And if it's real slippery, boy oh boy, every time you try to get traction, you slip a little and then you slip a little more and, sooner or later, in your attempt to climb the slope or even just maintain your position on the slope, you discover you've slipped to the bottom of the slope.

And do you know what is at the bottom of the slope?

A lot of people who have made their bed and now everybody – players, coaches, fans, on-field officials, replay officials, NFL officiating center honchos in New York, yammering talking heads on TV and radio – has to lie in it. That is one crowded bed; it's no wonder somebody falls off of it from time to time.

Anyway, I have been told repeatedly that once we began this replay routine, we could never return to the old ways. Uh, guess what? You can put the genie back in the bottle, and if you bought the bottle at Costco, they will even refund your money, no questions asked.

Incidentally, did you see what happened to the Saints last season against the Rams in the NFC championship game? That had to be pass interference – how come that wasn't a big deal?

Ask the slouch

Q.WAR (Wins Above Replacement) seems to be the rage with MLB stat freaks. If WAR could be calculated for sportswriters, any idea what yours might be? (Joel Miller; Pittsburgh)

A. In sportswriting, we have EAR (Expenses Above Replacement); as someone who only consumes yogurt and Yuengling on business trips, I believe my numbers would be the envy of the industry.

Q.If I take your advice and stop actually bowling to watch bowling, can I get paid for it like Eli Manning is getting paid to watch football? (Tom Logan; Sterling, Va.)

A. Uh, I didn't tell anybody to stop bowling so they could watch bowling. YOU CAN DO BOTH. Geez. You bowl during business hours and you watch DVR'd bowling after business hours. How hard is that?

Q.Maryland football this season has won, 79-0, and lost, 59-0. Does a Maryland education prepare its student-athletes for such emotional swings? (Lisa Epstein; Lansing, Mich.)

A. A Maryland education generally prepares its student-athletes for the night shift at Jiffy Lube.

Q. Is it true that the NFL is suing SeaWorld for exclusive use of the term "Dolphin Tank"? (Terry Golden; Vienna, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!


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Reagan and Alex Bregman welcomed little Knox on August 2. Photo by Priscilla Dickson.

A Houston power couple have just welcomed their first child. Houston Astros star Alex Bregman and his wife, entrepreneur Reagan, announced the birth of their son, Knox Samuel Bregman on Tuesday, August 2.

The Bregmans posted a photo of a quite cozy little Knox — looking warm in a knit beanie and blanket — on Instagram with a simple caption revealing his name. Thousands of well-wishing comments to the couple, who married in 2020, range from Knox’s doting grandmother Laurice Howard to Astros pitcher José Urquidy, who cheered his teammate with, “Congrats Brrrrregybomm!!!”

Little Knox arrives just a day after his father Alex Bregman was scratched from the Astros’ game against the Red Sox on Monday, August 1 and listed as multi-day paternity leave. Soon, Twitter exploded with reports that Reagan Bregman was in labor, and the watch began. News of Knox’s birth was first announced during the broadcast of Monday’s Astros/Red Sox game.

A savvy entrepreneur and mastermind behind the socially conscious athleisure line Exiza, Reagan Bregman has been a popular presence on social media, not only for her empowering posts, but also for her regular pregnancy updates and even shopping tips.

“Overall, I’m feeling pretty good,” she told CultureMap exclusively when the couple announced Samuel in February. “Some days, I’m extremely tired, but now that I’m in my second trimester I feel some energy coming back. I am still running Exiza day to day and we have so many new and exciting additions we are making to the line. I am very lucky I get to work from home though, because some days all I want to do is nap.”

Since then, she has launched a new line of Exiza called Breaking Barriers, which she told CultureMap she’ll get back to running as soon as she’s able.

Alex Bregman, meanwhile, is in fine form this summer, a promising sign for an Astros postseason run. After returning from major injuries including a broken hand last season, the slugger who boasts 13 Breggy Bombs (home runs) this year.

The All Star will play the Red Sox tonight (August 2). Win or lose, Bregman is already guaranteed an unforgettable, grand slam night.

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