Add instant replay to the list of things Gruden wants to nix
Jon Gruden’s “Back to the Future” tour of the NFL took its latest turn at the NFL scouting combine.
The Oakland Raiders coach who has repeatedly expressed a disdain for most things modern when it comes to football threw a not-so-recent advancement of the game onto his own personal discard pile — instant replay.
When the topic of expanding replay came up at the combine last week in the wake of the controversial result of the NFC championship game, Gruden scoffed at the idea. In fact, he took the topic in the other direction.
Gruden ‘Strong interest in eliminating replay’
“I don’t have any interest in expanding replay,” Gruden told reporters. “I have strong interest in eliminating replay, but that’s a story for another day.”
So. There’s that.
It’s not the first time Gruden’s broached the subject.
Shortly after taking over for his second stint with the Raiders last year, Gruden set his sights on slow-motion replay at the NFL owners meetings.
“I think slow-mo replay is the biggest problem with replay,” Gruden said last March. “When you’re looking at ‘is it a catch or isn’t it a catch’ at that speed it’s hard to tell. It really is hard to tell. So I think if you threw that slow-mo out, I think you’d get back to common sense.”
Gruden wasn’t the first and won’t be the last to dissect the league’s parsing of catches via the minute details of slow-motion replay as problematic.
But addressing what is and isn’t a catch is a far cry from eliminating replay altogether. Which is what Gruden has made clear is a goal of his.
Replay long ago won out
It’s a ridiculous concept in 2019, of course. While the process of getting things mostly right is far from simple and is a constant target of criticism over how it’s done and can be improved, the notion of replay existing as a means of better officiating the game has long won out.
Players, teams and fans almost universally agree. Getting things right is better than not getting things right.
Except for Gruden apparently. He’d rather not get things right, it appears.
Gruden at odds with game’s evolution
Replay’s not the first item connected to technology or advancement to find itself in Gruden’s crosshairs since his return to the sideline.
He’s scoffed at analytics. He’s mocked player conditioning and hydration concerns while touting his effort “to save football.” He’s brought out old grainy footage to show his players how things used to be done.
So that replay is a subject of scorn for Gruden shouldn’t be a surprise. But maybe it’s not because the game’s passed him by.
Maybe it’s just an old tuck-rule grudge.