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In-Stadium Replays

M Man's picture
April 28, 2014 at 9:48am
18 Comments

So here's a cross-cultural question.  How do you feel about the number and quality of replays on the video boards where you go to see college football?  I've been to a lifetime's worth of games in Michigan Stadium; through (I think) four different iterations of scoreboards, some of which - ahem - didn't have video boards.  Michigan Stadium might just be the worst place I have ever been for showing replays of things like disputed calls.

I've been to plenty of games in Ohio Stadium.  The 'Shoe isn't great on showing disputed replays, but you are better than Michigan.  Wisconsin's Camp Randall might be the best place I've seen for showing disputed calls.  Michigan State's Spartan Stadium is better than Michigan and OSU on this little dimension.  Northwestern's Ryan Field is hard to guage; their video isn't all that great to begin with.  I haven't yet experienced IU's fabulous new video boards; how do they use them down in Bloomington, apart from showing old basketball highlights?

The reason this comes up today is a short story in the Detroit Free Press in which Michigan AD Dave Brandon was asked about things to boost interest in Michigan's lackluster '14 home schedule.  Brandon says this, about doing more with broadband access inside the Stadium:

  “We know that what our customers want is the ability to be able to sit there and be able to surf the web  and call up replays and do all of the things they can do in their armchair at home. But when you’ve got 112,000 people sitting shoulder to shoulder and they all want to go online at the same time and you’ve got a stadium that’s fundamentally underground and we don’t have any second decks or third decks where we can put in the wiring and the antennas to get the kind of bandwidth we need, it’s the biggest challenge we have.”

After you get through saying that actually "blocking opposing linebackers" is Michigan's "biggest challenge," the point that jumps out is this; why must fans call up replays on their mobile phones, when we have two gigantic new video boards and an in-Stadium closed circuit television system (along with a network covering every game)?

There used to be a Big Ten Conference rule against showing repeated replays in slow motion.  The Conference rightly abandoned the rule last year.  But I saw little change last year, in the six games I attended in Ann Arbor, the one in East Lansing or the two in Columbus.

What do you think?

krazy12's picture

Replay video is a must. Using phones is ridiculous and takes away from the fan experience IMO. How many times have we seen fans losing their minds over a perceived bad call. Providing those fans with the proper view would allow them to move on, and get to the point..The next play! So I absolutely agree. Blocking opposing linebackers is not your teams biggest problem..location location location!! Thanks for the post M man.

"If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do... the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."
-General George S. Patton

BucksfanXC's picture

The reality is that people don't use their phones to look at replays. They use them to text who they are meeting up with afterwards to drink, or looking at Twitter and tweeting pics of the game, or looking for out of town scores that aren't shown fast enough on the scoreboard in stadium. Sometimes I'll want to text somebody that is watching at home to tell me if the replay was good or challenge was correct or how or why someone got called for a penalty or ejected.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

krazy12's picture

Gotcha.. I never was big on having my phone at the game. I see them everywhere but refuse to look down at my phone while at the game. I dont get to go much anymore being here in South Carolina, so when I am there I like to soak everything up.

"If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do... the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."
-General George S. Patton

FROMTHE18's picture

You have to consider that showing replays of disputed plays is in effect a free challenge. For the fan experience, sure, show more of those type of replays, but Im more on the side of having the game be as fair as possible rather than worry about if John Doe can get over his thoughts on the previous play.

+1 HS
M Man's picture

"...free challenge..."

Now that is a really interesting point.  But what's the harm?  Does anybody have any good feelings about "challenge" rules at all?  I suppose it might be one way to game the system via your home video boards.  But personally, I couldn't care less about "free challenges."  And I just bet that every Big Ten AD is more worried about home fan enthusiasm and attendance, than the rules on challenges.

Speaking personally as a fan, I'd rather have a network television-level of in-stadium replays, and do away with any challenge rule.  Let the game itself flow as intended.  And let the television producers and stadium video engineers figure out how to keep up and give us what we really want.

Just maybe, the AD's are worried about -- let's be plain about it -- riots if they show a really terrible call to 100,000 home fans.  But I can only think of a handful of times when I was prepared to spill the blood of Big Ten refs.

 

+2 HS
yrro's picture

Every call is reviewed any way, so a "free challenge" shouldn't matter. It *should* never come up.

I can understand the limits back in the age of no install replay officials, but now you should get the same level of replays you see on the TV broadcast.

Unky Buck's picture

With the exception of 1 challenge provided to each coach per game, which are almost never used, replays are essentially free in college. A man in a booth with a DVR just rewinds it and reviews the plays from different angles provided by the TV cameras. Since a coach doesn't determine whether a replay will be handled far more often than not, I don't see the real harm in showing replays on the big boards and any fairness being compromised really isn't much, if any.

...

Adam21's picture

In response to the whole instant replay/challenge thing (not just you unky)...

What is the main reason/goal for having instant replays? To make sure the right calls were made/corrected.

What is the main reason for having a set number of coach challenges in a game? To make sure the coach does not abuse the instant replay rule and to not slow down the game even more.

I do not see how showing replays on the big screen compromises those main reasons/goals/objectives.

+1 HS
Earle's picture

how do they use them down in Bloomington, apart from showing old basketball highlights?

Do you mean really, really old, or highlights of their most recent net-cutting ceremony?

 

 

Italics are for emphasis.

+4 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

My biggest complaint about reviews is that they use in house footage. During the Iowa game, when Roby got ejected, the replay was at a terrible angle. They showed it plenty of times, and it still looked clean. When I got home and saw the broadcast version, the call made more sense. 

+2 HS
M Man's picture

It's the same, if not worse, in Michigan Stadium.  They use the Stadium's own proprietary video feed.  Which sucks.  The cameras are typically tight on a ballcarrier, so you can't really see how a play develops.

The funny thing about that is that the stadium video feeds, if they wanted, could pull back and show "All-22 video" if they wished, which would be a dream come true for the most serious of college football cognoscenti.  I can understand why televison networks might not do it.  But fans would love it if they could see All-22 video in the stadiums.

The in-stadium video productions are basically doing almost everything wrong.  Bad angles, bad focal lengths, lousy replay selections, nonexistent slow-motion of disputed/close plays.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

It has driven me nuts in past years that they didn't show disputed replays on the scoreboard in the 'Shoe.  I just want to see what actually happened!  That's all.  This past season, though, it seems like they showed a few disputed plays. 

Class of 2010.

+1 HS
Crumb's picture

Yeah they did, Roby's hit against Iowa was one and it was such BS the crowd nearly lost it. Not saying that means they shouldn't show disputed plays, I think they should I felt like the crowd was even more behind the players for the rest of the game.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

+2 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

That is true, but it's probably also related to the game being closer than it should have been. 

Crumb's picture

The bad call for sure but I don't think the replay had much to do with the game being close.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

BucksfanXC's picture

I don't know how realistic concerns of fan riots really are. I think it's more about them having the ability to show it in a timely fashion. I'm sure they could link up with the TV feed, but would be worried about not having control over the content maybe. If they cut to ABC/ESPN feed to show multiple replay angles during the review, would there also be a cut shot of the fans holding up a sign or would they include an ad for an advertiser the school doesn't approve of or get money from, thus giving them free ads and diminishing what they charge the sponsors to be on the video board.
 

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

M Man's picture

I don't know how realistic concerns of fan riots really are.

I should have used the sarcasm italics.  I just wanted a chance to say again (pictorially) how I felt about Eddie Brown's admitted, uncalled pass interference on the determinative play in a Sparty upset of Number 1 ranked Michigan.  It gets my vote (and I challenge anyone to name a better nominee) as the worst call in the modern history of Big Ten football.  I was there for both games, and the Desmond interference was a hundred times more blatant than the Thom Darden interception that caused Woody Hayes to tear up the down marker in 1971.

There might be a technical problem with linking to the tv feed, if it is delayed from realtime (as it routinely is).  But in the Stadium, unlike tv, they've got nothing to do during tv timeouts.  And they don't need to follow the rhythm of tv.  [Play, play, replay, play, play, replay, etc.]

Michigan has no paid advertising on its video boards.  There are informational ads, promotions, etc.  But no paid advertising.

+1 HS
Byaaaahhh's picture

Edit: Never mind. Just read your last paragraph. lol. 

I do kind of see how it being a free replay might factor in: if stadiums showed more close calls that were in the home team's favor, perhaps that could influence the refs' decision on reviews, but that's a bit of a stretch.

+1 HS