Thursday, October 29, 2009

Inside the Replay Booth at Miss St

Want to see inside the replay booth where the now infamous Dustin Doe TD against Mississippi State was decided? Well here it is:

Was it what you were expecting? Kyle Veazey of the Clarion Ledger has a good story not only how and why the recent calls at MSU have been made, but also on the room and environment in which the officials make the calls.

Accessible through the west side club level seats, a heavy door keeps would-be interlopers out with a sign that reads "No Admittance. SEC - Authorized Personnel Only." A window air-conditioner keeps it cool. Reflective tinting on the glass keeps outsiders from peering in or - as Mississippi State fans may want to do now - offering a single-finger salute to anyone in particular.

On Wednesday, a half-consumed bag of Wint-O-Green Lifesavers sat on top of the replay rules manual, 2008 edition. There are two telephones, a stack of video equipment behind the chairs and fluorescent lights. Mini-blinds shield the window, too, which has an 'R' facing the field in its top-right corner to orient the on-field official.

My, what important things have occurred here in the past three weeks, as instant replay has twice drawn Mississippi State's ire in October. The latest came Saturday, in front of the third-highest audience to watch a college football game this year on ESPN. The replay booth confirmed a Florida touchdown, but ESPN's replays eventually showed it wasn't.

Makes you wonder why ESPN's coverage is not available to the officials, especially now that ESPN is so heavily financially vested in the SEC. Or maybe the controversy gives them better ratings?

And why did the call stand? Because there was no "indisputable evidence" available to the replay official to overrule the call on the field.

Redding defended the work of his replay official Saturday, Dan Dembinski, stressing that the replay rule calls for indisputable video evidence. "It's not like in a court of law where there is reasonable doubt," Redding said. "There can be no doubt at all for a replay official."

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