When we mentioned during Sunday’s Football Night in America the possibility that the NFL will centralize replay review, also mentioned was that the NHL currently uses a similar system from its headquarters in Toronto.
As it turns out, the NFL has been studying the NHL’s system.
According to John Kryk of the Toronto Sun, an NFL representative spent the evening of November 30 in the NHL’s “Situation Room,” studying the manner in which hockey handled from one location the review of disputed goal calls and non-calls in 10 games that were played that night.
Making the trek to Rob Ford’s town was Jay Reid, who works in the NFL’s officiating department.
“He came in and watched us — and we’ve been communicating back and forth via email probably for about a month, about different things we do,” NHL senior V.P. of hockey operations Mike Murphy told Kryk.
“Jay came in and actually sat with us for probably three hours and watched how the whole room functions — how we operated at individual stations, how we operated in real time. And he saw how we do it. He asked people questions.”
Advances in technology have made the process more efficient, with “cyber-optic” video feeds allowing the images from the various arenas to be studied instantaneously.
As a backup to the NHL’s Situation Room, the league has one person at each game who can review the images and make decisions consistent with the habits of the central replay location. For both the NHL and the NFL, consistency is the key.
“We do 1,230 games,” Murphy told Kryk. “The same group of people work here every night. They make the same decisions night in and night out. We like to think we’ve brought more accuracy to it, which I think we have, because our technology has improved so much.”
The NHL’s situation room has become a popular place of late. Per Kryk, the NBA and an Australian rugby league have visited in recent weeks.
But what about Canada’s equivalent to the NFL? There’s no need for the CFL to stop by. That football league adopted centralized replay review in 2006.