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Yoni Monat

Get it Right! It's Time for the Officials of Tomorrow 25

  • Posted by: Yoni Monat
  • January 18, 2011, 12:19 PM


Athletes should be judged on their ability, rather than the ability of those officiating. Officials have significantly altered numerous outcomes of games due to incorrect decisions.

In last summer’s World Cup, the United States was denied a victory over Slovenia when FIFA referee Koman Coulibaly incorrectly called a foul on the U.S. as American Maurice Edu netted the apparent game-winning goal. In the NFL, referee Ed Hochuli prematurely blew his whistle, signaling an incomplete pass, as the Denver Broncos’ Jay Cutler clearly fumbled the ball deep in San Diego Chargers’ territory during a key 2008 game. And in a baseball playoff game in 1996, 12-year old Yankee fan Jeffrey Maier infamously interfered with Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco’s attempt to catch a Derek Jeter fly ball, but umpire Rich Garcia failed to call fan interference, giving Jeter a tainted home run.

Automated officials could replace officials and their human limitations. Most officials are very professional and get most calls correct; in fact, the NFL reported that their referees accurately called 98.1% of plays during the 2008 season. Although this percentage appears high, it actually translates to almost three incorrect calls per game. Automated referees would guarantee that 100% of calls would be correct.

Officials have the obligation to make decisions based on what occurs on the playing surface. Officials are human, and thus have biases. They tend to make calls favoring superstar players. LeBron James oftentimes receives the benefit of the doubt on foul calls, Roy Halladay is given a wider strike zone, and Alexander Ovechkin is more likely to receive a favorable call in the offensive zone. Players or teams that have a reputation of complaining to officials sometimes get the short end of the stick from officials due to a predetermined negative image.

Although technical advances are required to fully automate officiating, there are currently many tools that increase officiating accuracy. Increased use of cameras and instant replays would improve the game-calling. Perhaps lasers, combined with sensors on a batter’s uniform, could assure a consistent strike zone. Maybe a sensor on the football could help referees more accurately spot the ball. Any technique used must not significantly slow down the game.

Purists may argue that automation of game-calling will change the tenor of sports. Yet, tradition-rich baseball has moved in the direction of automation; MLB instituted instant replay on home run calls in 2008 following many embarrassing blown calls. I believe that players, managers, and fans alike would agree that the accuracy of calls is paramount.

Despite my deep appreciation for the history and traditions of baseball and other sports, I believe that reliable, automatic technology should be implemented as soon as possible to help officials make accurate calls. Eventually, human officials could be replaced.

Had automated officiating been in place, the United States would have a victory over Slovenia, the Chargers would have defeated the Broncos, and the Yankees’ stretch of dominance may have had to wait one more year. And, oh yeah, Armando Galarraga would have pitched a perfect game!

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25 Comments

well well well

No. I don't think automated officials are a good idea. It just wouldn't be right.
gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sox!

BTWs, the us did win over slovenia, donovan scored in like the 93rd minute.

I am a HUGE soccer fan, and every game there are unfair calls. It's like the game is never called right!

I know what you mean. The basketball officials hate the
Lakers. If someone like Derek Fisher, or Shannon Brown get pushed on a layup, then if the oppisite team gets tapped on the arm for the three points, it's foul on us! While Df and SB get no freethrows!!!

But if you think about it, most official are like 100 years old, or half blind!

Automated refs are just not plausible. The type of technology required to recognize rules is not going to be available for a long time.

bhugghhbbgbgh

step yr game uup

thats nice

Though I do agree that Armando should have gotten that perfect game, thats part of sports. That's why I think baseball should NOT use instant replay. The Umpire should call one-hundred percent. Football uses instant replay, and I'm fine with that, but you're talking sensors, and robots. NO!!! You sound like my dad when he is watching a Yankees game on the Boston network!!!

they make hundreds of thousands of dollars i am sure, and the mlb does not care about the people they care about$$$$$$$$$ ca$h.

Another thing I thought of later is the fact that if you replace all the officials in the MLB alone, you would have at least 200 more people out of a job. That may (possibly) be cheaper for the MLB, but that would cut off these peoples bread and butter. Then again, I'm not sure how much the umps make, but it can't be enough to retire on, can it?

Yea, i completely agree with BaseballFanatic368. Having umpires or referees call everything is just part of the game. I think its more fun to watch and to play if its not all 100% technical.

C'Mon! While I agree with you about the circumstances that would have changed----the umps are part of the game just like the players, and the time for replacement is not now. Great article however, Yoni!

yes

WANA BE FRIENDS

they is cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool

thanks

he needs a grammar lesson ha ha

grammer is to be a are,

that doesnt make sence.

dude i am sorry but automated officials com on they would get messed up and that would cost cash.

yes i know they get paid but not as much time and HASSLE with them you know!

the cash isn't that important. Umpires get paid, you know.

ok

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