In general Jon Gruden is considered someone who turns to gold whatever he touches. In the NFL it was the Raiders and Buccaneers and in his second career it has been Monday Night Football and segments analyzing draft-eligible quarterbacks in his own, unique way. But I think it’s completely safe to say that his desire to eliminate Instant Replay from the NFL is simply ignorant.
Gruden’s desire/recommendation to get rid of replay comes from a good place, which is essentially to speed up the game and eliminate the endless debate about a disputed catch or other on-field play. But the problem with Gruden’s suggestion is that eliminating replay doesn’t eliminate the controversy surrounding the play, it only heightens it.
Yes, sometimes replays drag out. Yes, sometimes the NFL over-analyzes things or a coach throws a challenge flag even knowing in his heart that the call won’t be overturned. But in the end game broadcasts and the 24-hour news cycle aren’t going away. For every controversial Dez Bryant catch/no-catch, there is a missed call that is legitimately corrected via replay. If you take away replay the game my be two minutes faster (or maybe not, since the NFL has commercials to air contractually regardless), but a missed call can easily tip the scales in the favor of a team that maybe didn’t deserve it.
So it’s clear why the NFL would never eliminate replay at this point. If they did, the minute a call cost a team the game fans would rain down hatred unlike anything the NFL has ever seen before, especially if the call occurs in a key playoff game or even a Super Bowl down the line. Instead the NFL will certainly risk a game running a few minutes longer instead of millions of people questioning the integrity and competency of the game. Not that such actions don’t happen already, but not nearly on the scale of what would happen if Gruden ever got his wish.