Advertisement

 NEW YORK (AP) -All the fans who ever grumbled that they could do a better job than NFL referees - well, maybe they were right.
Or at least some of them had better equipment with which to make instant replay decisions.
So the league this season is switching to high definition technology for its officials to use to review plays on the field.
``As more people were getting high definition TV at home, they actually had a better view than the referee charged with making the decision,'' said Dean Blandino, the NFL's director of instant replay. ``That could've bit us in the rear if we continued that.''
, which means the image quality is better than before but not as good as in other cities - or in fans' homes.
This is the first time the NFL has upgraded its technology since reinstating instant replay in 1999.
``The biggest concern we've heard from referees is about the quality of the picture they were viewing,'' Blandino said.
That shouldn't be a problem anymore. The HD images are five times sharper than the previous standard definition system, according to Harris Corporation, which supplies the NFL's replay equipment.
Even without the clearer picture, referees would have an easier time seeing the video with the new monitors. The screens are bigger - 26 inches compared with 20 - and officials no longer have to view them from a set distance. Instead, they can stand closer or farther away if they choose.
But the greatest impact will come from the crisper images. The difference between standard and high definition is particularly stark for slow motion replays and freeze frames, said Rich Zabel, a vice president at Harris.
Not only will the HD systems allow refs to make better calls, Blandino said, but they'll have another effect fans can appreciate: quicker decisions.
About half of the situations that have been reviewed since 1999 involved whether a potential catch was complete or incomplete, Blandino said. He believes the new HD replays will help officials greatly with that type of call.
``What used to be, 'Is this foot in or out of bounds?''' Zabel said, ``is now that you can see the blades of grass between the foot and the sideline.''
Advertisement

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Bears vs. Cowboys Pick Will Sunday night's matchup between the Bears and Cowboys fall under the total when the two teams meet at 8:30PM ET in Dallas?
Thumbnail Rams vs. Bucs Pick Will the Rams and Bucs play under the total in Tampa this weekend when the two teams meet at 4:05PM ET on Sunday?
Thumbnail 49ers vs. Seahawks Pick NFC West rivals will square off at 4:05PM ET in Seattle on Sunday. Will the under cash for bettors when the 49ers and Seahawks clash?
Thumbnail Chiefs vs. Jets Pick Will the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets play in the physical football game many expect, or will the game be a...
Thumbnail Chargers vs. Colts Pick Will the Indianapolis Colts be able to put up some big offensive numbers at home when they host the San Diego Chargers this Sunday at...
More inNFL Articles  

NFL Team Pages