For better or worse, instant replay is now A Thing in the NFL and major college football, and it isn’t going away. While the practice has led to an untold number of incorrect calls being overturned, it has also fundamentally changed the way the game is officiated. Officials often view plays through two prisms — how they reconcile what they see with the rule book, and how the replay official might view the action playing out before them.
The NFL devoted a significant chunk of its offseason untangling itself from a legalistic replay philosophy that saw obvious catches overturned into incompletions.
And now replay is coming to the high school game.
Last week, the Alabama High School Athletic Association granted permission to its teams to use replay at all games, through technology available for purchase from DVSport. (It’s incumbent upon each school to decide whether or not to buy the technology.) “It’s an experiment,” said AHSAA director of officials Mark Jones told AL.com. “We’ll find things we may need to tweak or do better.”
On Thursday, the University Interscholastic League — the governing body of Texas’s public high school sports — announced it will implement instant replay for all state championship games, which are played at AT&T Stadium.
“With all UIL State Championship football games at a single location, we have the technology and ability to utilize these powerful tools to make the state championships the best possible experience for coaches, players, officials and fans,” UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said in a statement. “Instant replay will help ensure that the calls during the biggest games of the year are as correct as possible.”
The numbers will only grow from there. For better or worse.