It seems at times that video replay is one of those “Which came first, the chicken of the egg?” scenarios where there is no clear advantage.
Newer stadiums often were built with giant screens that show replays of practically every play. You see shots of players looking up to admire their exploits. We have even seen an instance where a NFL player looked up at the screen during live play in order to learn from where the pursuit and a potential tackler was coming from, with the player then taking evasive action.
For fans in the distant sections of a stadium, where the players look like ants, the jumbo screens were valuable in terms of seeing the actual game action.
Unfortunately, giant screens, aided by slow motion replays, made it obvious when the on-field officials had blown a ruling.
Of all the replay systems we have seen, only tennis seems to have come up with something that offers true proof, but it is a far cry from determining if a ball landed within any of the boundaries to determining many of the controversial plays that happen during team sports.
In the NFL and AFL, games are delayed frequently and for long periods while officials try to reach a correct ruling. Many times, despite cameras recording plays from every conceivable angle, no conclusive video evidence emerges to support or reverse a ruling from the field.
The NRL has its “Video Bunker” in Eveleigh, but often comes back with rulings that seem as though the video referees were watching Game of Thrones reruns, rather than paying attention to the games they were supposed to be monitoring.
The outcome is predictable, with fans screaming for blood.
Players have no option other than to play out a sequence and hope for the best from the replay officials, but in instances where players stop playing because they think a play is over, while the opposition scores, the inherent weaknesses of video replay in any code are blatantly exposed.