Andrew Gilman

You can see through it, and it’s not a good look

You can see through it, and it’s not a good look

I don’t want to be in Seacaucus, N.J., watching NBA replays and I don’t want to be under the hood with Dean Blandino or Gene Steratore or any of the guys explaining to me the specifics of college and NFL rules. Pardon me if the idea of of getting inside the brain of Reggie Smith or any of the Big 12 refs when it comes time to make a big call isn’t something that I want in my life.

Mostly, I’m out on the College Football Playoff committee. I’m not buying their reasoning, I don’t accept the constant moving of the goalposts and I don’t buy the obfuscating communication through confusing terminology like “Game Control” or “Eye Test.”

In each of these cases, the NFL, the NBA, TV and the various committees who bring us all the information do so under the auspices of transparency. 

We do get under the hood and in the control room and we get countless replays from every angle. In the case of the College Football Playoff committee we get a weekly explanation of why teams move up or down, but this transparency is opaque. We get an idea of what’s going on, but it’s shadowy. Can’t trust it. 

And how do we know this “honest and open” approach to sports is fake, at best? Because no one really knows if it makes sports better or worse.

It has made it more confusing, though.

Naturally, we all want the correct calls to be made and the right decisions to be rendered, but what we don’t need is more transparency. Not in sports. Not in life. We actually need less of it. Think about it – do you want to know what your wife or husband, parents or co-workers are thinking all the time? Do you need to know everything it takes for the pilot to get the plane in the air or the doctor to get you well?

Answer: You don’t. All that information is too much. It clouds everything you used to be sure about. You played football in the yard or basketball in the driveway. You know a foul or a catch when it happens. Replays for days don’t help.

Now, even when a tackler goes to face-to-face with another, even after a dozen replays from a dozen angles, no one agrees. And not only do we all disagree, that disagreement is spread at rapid levels thanks to the www. It leads to “whataboutism.” Sure, that call went one way, but “what about” the facemask penalty that wasn’t called?

We see pass interference and it’s not called. We see a review of a player with his toes inbounds and it’s called out of bounds. Forget trying to understand a pic play or a fumble. We all see what we want and despite explanations from the ones in charge, rare is the case anyone is pacified. Getting behind the curtain is a perk, but all the moving parts are chaotic not calming. No one knows what to look for or at.

The College Football Playoff committee values a different metric each week, spends its time behind doors and then defends an indefensible position for an hour on Tuesday nights. All of it does nothing to enhance our enjoyment. 

But, but, but, we get to hear from “experts” and decision makers and gimme, gimme, gimme another angle and one more week of number crunching by a committee. More isn’t better in this case.

End it all. Accept the pilot is going to land the plane without having to explain it to you. Accept the referees are going to make the right call some of the time, but not all of the time. Replays and explanations are great for discussion and deliberation but really just dilute our enjoyment. 

And accept college football would be better served to have its top teams decided by a computer not a committee.

Give me a formula. Hold the replays.


Andrew Gilman

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