Former NFL head of officiating turned Fox NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira was among the vanguard breaking down the early days of instant replay. Now, after the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) ruled that state’s could pursue instant replay policies of their own, he’s attempting to pump the breaks.
“I think it’s taking it too far. I think when you talk about amateur sports, you have to be careful how far you go,” Pereira told the New York State Sportswriters Association. “I understand the pressures of intercollegiate sports, so I see it there, but I want the game to still be a game. It gets to the replay, whether it’s the Kentucky Derby or whether it’s Major League Baseball or any other, it leads to controversy. Whether it’s technology or not, it’s still humans that are making the decisions.
“I understand the importance of winning, but I also think that the further you get, where you’re taking the human element out of the game, the more dangerous it gets.”
In addition to his reservations about replay’s impact on the flow of the game, Pereira is also worried about the lack of universal access to the technology and infrastructure that can make instant replay successful.
Add in the potential for escalation to the courts if decisions don’t go the way a team wants, and there’s ample reason for concern about the integrity of instant replay across any individual state.
“I just wish that, as we move down to the high school level, that we would realize that the game is the game and these are kids that they’re playing and good athletes will get scholarships whether they win or lose a game,” Pereira told the NYSSA. “It puts more emphasis on the officials and sets them up for more abuse and not less.”