Author Topic: Instant replay, measuring, and optics  (Read 2177 times)

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Offline ump_ben

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Instant replay, measuring, and optics
« on: October 21, 2019, 10:23:23 AM »
Two somewhat similar interesting plays from Saturday's games for discussion.

GA Tech / Miami 4th down in OT.  Ball is thrown slightly in advance of the line to gain and the ball carrier is driven back while catching it.  He breaks free from the tackle and advances two yards past the line to gain.  Replay determines that he was down where he was driven back to so they decide to put the ball on the 4 yard line.  The previous series appears to have started on or behind the yard line so this should have been a first down.  After setting the ball, they measure and GT wins by 3 inches.


BYU / Boise St 3rd at the end of the game as BYU is trying to burn clock.  Series started with a touchback.  On 2nd down the runner is spotted an inch shy of the 35.  On third down the runner runs into the line and is spotted for no gain.  The ball is set one inch behind the 35 yard line.  They decide to bring out the chains to measure  ???.  To everyone's obvious consternation on the field, it's a first down.  They move the chains closer and straighter but the ball is probably a good 3/4's of an inch into first down territory.  The R signals a first down and then goes to converse with Boise's coach who indicates that he wants to challenge the spot on the play.  After looking at a bunch of angles where it looks like the runner doesn't get much surge but in which one can't even see the ball in most angles, replay decides to respot the ball and the referee announces "After review, the runner was stopped short of the thirty five yard line, 4th down."  They moved the ball back what I'd estimate to be about 10 inches.
Most of the controversy for this one goes away as BYU decides to gamble on 4th down and converts and is able to run out the clock in victory formation.  (Though apparently still traumatized by this play the officiating crew fails to wind the clock on first down and they end up having to wait to kneel a bit on first down.)


Both plays seem to raise the same question about replay, which is that in a game decided by inches replay seems to be only able to rule to the nearest half yard.  Is it time to make the rules match how we do things?  Get rid of the chains, make it a rule that the ball is always spotted on a half or full yard line and let the H/L make their decisions as to first downs and just live with those?  If replay steps in, make them make a call on whether the line was gained and if not by rule the ball must be put 18 inches away. 
And secondarily both plays seem to suggest that the chains aren't being set with quite the accuracy with which the field is drawn.  (I'd bet money on both plays that the error was setting the chains not the painting of the field.)

In the first play it's not clear that replay even made a comment on whether the line to gain was reached since they hadn't seen where the chains were stretched to.  Instead they said, well he was down at the six entitling him to forward progress but the ball on the four.

Thoughts?

Offline Clear Lake ref

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Re: Instant replay, measuring, and optics
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2019, 10:08:38 PM »
Iíve been advocating that the chains should only be a guide for where 10 yards is. The yard line is what determines it.

Offline Magician

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Re: Instant replay, measuring, and optics
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2019, 10:15:56 PM »
The chains are a visible representation of the LTG. Maybe we just have the front stake function similar to the orange strip on the sideline used in some games. The main reason you probably need the chains though is instances where we can't start on a line.  Maybe they should set the front stake first and then pull back the back stake. Fans would be so confused!

I wonder if the conversation with replay on the second one went something like this:

R: We ruled the LTG was not reached but brought out the chains as a courtesy. They must have been short or the back stake set wrong.
Replay: If he was short I can rule he was short and we can move the back far enough to not reach the LTG.
R: Works for me!

I tell my wings they are 100% responsible for determining if the line to gain was reached. If it wasn't make sure you give me a spot a half yard short of the line. That way this doesn't happen.

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Instant replay, measuring, and optics
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2019, 08:08:38 AM »
Iíve been advocating that the chains should only be a guide for where 10 yards is. The yard line is what determines it.
So if you're in the center of the field or in the middle of the hash marks and sideline at a 44-1/2 +- and the LTG is the 45 don't you still have to measure?
« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 10:59:50 AM by NVFOA_Ump »
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Offline Kalle

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Re: Instant replay, measuring, and optics
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2019, 08:37:18 AM »
So if you're in the center of the field or in the middle of the hash marks and sideline at a 42-1/2 +- and the LTG is the 45 don't you still have to measure?

No, because the wing official already has ruled it either short or not, based on where he came in to the spot.

Offline carol1995

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Re: Instant replay, measuring, and optics
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2019, 10:24:08 AM »
So if you're in the center of the field or in the middle of the hash marks and sideline at a 42-1/2 +- and the LTG is the 45 don't you still have to measure?

I assume you mean the play ended at the 44.5 +-.  If we start on the line at the 35, we don't measure if the offense doesn't reach the line at the 45.  Bringing the chains out when we start on a line can do nothing but make someone look bad.  In my opinion, if the field is marked incorrectly or the chains aren't exactly 10 yards, we don't want everyone in the stadium to know that (the L and H should have the chains fixed in pregame, if they are the problem).  Both teams are playing with the same chains on the same field.

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Instant replay, measuring, and optics
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2019, 11:02:05 AM »
So on 4th down if either HC asks for a measurement when the ball is nowhere an actual mark on the field what is you're answer going to be?
It's easy to get the players, getting 'em to play together, that's the hard part. - Casey Stengel

Offline ajv

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Re: Instant replay, measuring, and optics
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2019, 01:40:35 PM »
Here's my chain story. It was some time ago and I can't remember the exact details so I'm going to make them up.

The chain (we only had one) had been broken during a series so we declared an officials' timeout while we got it fixed. After a punt the ball was downed by the kicking team at the 1-yard line. The chains were set and we ran a series of plays - 1st down, 2nd down. After 3rd down my H indicated that the end of the run had achieved the line-to-gain. I looked at the spot of the ball, looked at the chains, looked at the field markings and pointed out that we were short of the 10-yard line on the field.

Offline Magician

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Re: Instant replay, measuring, and optics
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2019, 05:11:04 PM »
So on 4th down if either HC asks for a measurement when the ball is nowhere an actual mark on the field what is you're answer going to be?

There are times we will do a measurement for PR purposes or to give the respect to the coach who is probably about to lose the game because of the result of the play. But we should know the result before we bring out the chains. If it's a random 3rd down early in the second quarter, absolutely not. If its a critical 3rd or 4th down with 32 seconds left in a one-score game, absolutely!

Offline Derek Teigen

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Re: Instant replay, measuring, and optics
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2020, 01:06:45 AM »
Following on to this thread I wanted to comment on the controversial first down late in the Packers/Seahawks game.  I've looked at the replays again and this is what I think.  The runner reached the far side first down marker you see on the ground and the yellow line was misplaced and was actually a little ahead of the line to gain. 

So here is a video that shows , in my opinion, the ball landing right on the 36 yard line, which apparently was the line to gain.  https://www.12up.com/posts/video-jimmy-graham-appears-to-get-first-down-after-it-s-revealed-yellow-marker-for-first-down-was-poorly-aligned-01dyek89s346    Scroll down to Tom Grossi's field level video.

PROBLEM:  the special effects yellow line was inaccurate giving the illusion the runner was short.  We need to trust the line judge and spots are always 'judgment'.  I think instant replay is not foolproof as angles play such an important role. 
 
« Last Edit: January 16, 2020, 01:15:22 AM by Derek Teigen »

Offline ump_ben

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Re: Instant replay, measuring, and optics
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2020, 12:51:38 PM »
The important thing when looking at the NFL spot in question is that the ball wasn't placed at the LTG.  It was placed 1/2 yard in advance of it.  There's no question from the video that this spot is wrong.  I agree with you that the ball was near the yard line (no strong opinion on whether it was just ahead or just behind).  Where it definitely was not was 18 inches past the line.