Bill Belichick’s Replay Camera Proposal Tabled


Groundhog’s Day is usually in February, but for Bill Belichick, it’s also in March.

The NFL Competition Committee announced on Tuesday that Belichick’s annual suggestion of adding cameras to the sidelines, end lines, and end zones of NFL fields would be tabled. Pardon Bill for not jumping up and down because the idea wasn’t flat-out rejected like it was last year.

Depending on whether you prefer to receive your high-school-cafeteria rumors from Adam Schefter or Pro Football Talk, the Hoodie made his contempt for the league’s stick-in-the-mud attitude towards more replay cameras known in a meeting with his colleagues that might or might not have included words that would get you sent to the principal’s office.

This came on the heels of the very same NFL Competition Committee deciding that, despite being used by both college and NFL teams for years (notably, by Belichick’s college football foil Nick Saban), the plays in this year’s AFC Divisional Playoff game where New England designated scatback Shane Vereen as an ineligible receiver are no longer legal. From now on, the modified rule requires that requires a player with an eligible receiver’s number (1-49, 80-89) to line up in the tackle box (not outside like Vereen did) if they want to report as ineligible. In other words, if you’re not wearing an offensive lineman’s jersey, and you want to be ineligible, you gotta line up next to the big boys.

So, recap: the Competition Committee is fine with tweaking a previously legal trick play to make it illegal, but adding more cameras to help with replay “requires further research”.

What’s truly baffling to the fans is that in at least three major sports – the NFL, MLB, and NBA – the leagues themselves seem just as firmly dedicated to self-sabotage with video replay as they are to getting calls right. The NFL, in this case, won’t pony up for four additional cameras in each stadium (which, mind you, each team doesn’t even have it’s own stadium – the Giants and Jets both share Metlife Stadium, and it’s looking increasingly likely that the new L.A. stadium will house two teams also). The MLB seems like it has to apologize every other day for botched out/safe calls that are made after video review. The NBA has even started a system where they’ll be revealing whether they consider referees’ “crunch-time calls” to be right or wrong, which they introduced during this year, but the league started getting serious about publicizing officiating mistakes during the 2014 playoffs.

Think about what an astoundingly obvious conundrum this creates. Literally none of the three aforementioned leagues can consistently get crucial, game-altering calls correct, even with the aid of video replay. And then, when Bill Belichick rolls into the NFL owner’s meetings and says “Hey guys, it’d be a lot easier to get calls that, you know, result in touchdowns, correct if there were more cameras that the referees could use for replay purposes”, the league’s response is “Nah bro…that probably costs money.”

Then again, if the NFL still can’t even decide what a catch is, it might not matter after all.