Glitches, Breakdowns And Procedures:
Like any electronic device, the NFL replay system is susceptible to malfunction. To deal with weather issues, the NFL has set-up one special on-field replay monitor that can be used in outdoor stadiums. But, if the whole system goes down, the NFL has a work around system in place:
"If for some reason the replay system is not operational, the referee is to stay at the replay booth for two minutes while the equipment is being fixed. If it is fixed within two minutes, the referee then has the full 60 seconds to review the play. If the equipment is not fixed, the call on the field stands and an announcement is made regarding the system not being operational. If they find out that only one review station is not working, they would proceed immediately to the other. But normally if one monitor is out, they are all out. So that scenario never seems to occur."
-- Greg Aiello, senior vice president of public relations
Last season, a malfunction happened in the first quarter of the San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos game on Sept. 14 in which there was an "issue" with the Nexio server and the back-up server too. The referee waited until the required two minutes ran out, and then announced to the crowd that the call on the field stood. Many fans, however, were upset once they heard that it was only the on-field monitors that had malfunctioned, leaving a completely working feed up in the booth.
The Future Of Replay:
Even though the NFL instituted the new system just two seasons ago, Howard admits that the monitors they are currently using are out-of-date. However due to the cost to upgrade to new models, Howard doesn't see any change happening to the equipment in the immediate future. So, next time you want to scream at the refs for blowing a call, just remember that your beautiful 52-inch plasma is four-times the size of what they're working with. Plus, they might be looking at a standard def picture. So, have mercy on them.
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