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The NFL Replay System Failed in a Key Reversal to a Fumble in Arizona-Kansas City

In an article about the replay system, which is now run through a central command center, Dean Blandino just said the following:

“The call on the field is correct unless we have indisputable visual evidence to the contrary, and then we can overturn it, and we are really trying to stick to that standard. You will see that reversals are down this year because we are not going to try to reofficiate the play in the booth. We have a ruling on the field. If it’s not clear and obvious that that ruling on the field is incorrect, the call will not be overturned, and that’s the standard that we’re trying to stick to.”

With 5:31 left in the 4th quarter, Travis Kelce caught a pass and was tackled at the Arizona 22. When he rolled over and started to get up, the ball was popped out by Deone Bucannon. This shot is not from before Kelce is going to the ground; it is after they have rolled over.

The call on the field was catch, Kansas City first down. Was there indisputable evidence? Here’s all the shots below that were shown. There is no clear shot showing a fumble. You kinda sorta see the ball move toward his thigh in one of them, but you can’t see where his hands are.

If anything, even a de novo should have leaned Kansas City ball and first down. An indisputable evidence standard? Come on.

NFL reviewer guy, you keep using that word, but in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, I do not think it means what you think it means.

Arizona was awarded the ball. The purpose of replay is to right obvious wrongs. The exact opposite of that purpose is to actively reverse plays that appeared to have been called correctly. Kansas City got the ball back with just over a minute and no timeouts left. If anyone has watched Alex Smith not throw the ball down the field, they know that the call basically decided the game. It will also keep Arizona ahead of Seattle, and drop Kansas City below Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the AFC wildcard race.

I think Travis Kelce might have some thoughts on this miscarriage of the replay system.