When a friend on Facebook posted the ESPN story about the officials in the Miami-Duke football game being suspended for the next two weeks, here is how I responded:
I quote myself -- "That is not enough. That was a crime. What was the replay official seeing. That's the guy who never should do that job again. The ACC commissioner and/or executive committee should give the victory to Duke. And Miami players and interim [head] coach were acting like they deserved the win. It was all detestable."
It was one of the worst "jobs" I've seen in sports.
So Miami had eight laterals on the kickoff return that was ruled a touchdown, wiping out Duke's 27-24 lead. Duke had just scored the go-ahead touchdown, and all it had to do was kick off and survive the 6 seconds remaining on the clock.
Miami: eight laterals, what was an "official" 75-yard TD return, two blocks in the back and one player running onto the field without his helmet before the play ended. And a victory celebration that should have been Duke's.
On one of the laterals, the Miami player's knee clearly -- clearly -- is on the ground, with him holding the football. He was down.
How in the heck did the replay official not see that? Unbelievable.
You can give the on-field officials an "out" for missing the blocking-in-the-back calls, considering the wildness of the play and that the officials probably had to run and stop and run and reverse directions while the play developed.
But, absolutely, there is no excuse for the replay official. That's why he's up there in the booth. It took him nine minutes to look at the play repeatedly -- and still make the wrong call.
It's a crime.
Instant replay or "the play is under review" is, I believe, one of the best things that's happened in sports recently.
Let's get the calls right, no matter how long it takes. If you have the technology for replay and review, let's use it.
Don't mind it in baseball, the NFL, NBA, NHL and certainly in college football. And for those few of you who care, it should be used more in soccer, where players try to get away with anything they can.
In trading e-mail messages with an old friend last week, he said he is not a replay/review fan in baseball. He'd rather have the human element -- umpires' calls -- remain as they were before the past couple of years, that the human element is part of the game.
I politely disagree. I say this knowing that the Yankees have won a few championships with the benefit of umpires' mistakes. And ask St. Louis Cardinals' fans about the 1985 Kansas City Royals winning the World Series.
In that vein, if college football had had replay/review in 1972, the clock would have run out on LSU against Ole Miss. No extra second and no last-play touchdown pass and winning PAT kick.
And how many more games would have ended differently? One I can think of immediately is the "fifth down" Colorado victory against Missouri in 1990. How crucial was that extra play. It helped Colorado score a last-play touchdown and win 33-31, and it merely -- merrily -- went on to win a share of the national championship.
A replay official probably would have changed that one, and Colorado coach Bill McCartney -- a deeply religious man -- was indignant afterward when it was suggested Colorado forfeit the victory. As I saw on an ESPN "30 for 30" feature on McCartney last night, he still doesn't apologize for a victory his team didn't deserve.
Makes me agree that Duke coach David Cutcliffe's suggestion (demand?) that college football set up some sort of appeals committee or central command, or that conferences have a system to settle these type disputes, has a lot of merit.
The deserving team ought to win. And that team certainly was Duke against Miami last Saturday. But the human element -- poor judgment by officials -- prevailed.
Here is what really galls me. Now there is a tee shirt diagramming the play and boasting of the victory available for the Miami people.
Great. Take those shirts, and donate them to needy kids.
And give one to each of the game officials -- and especially the replay official. They can wear them as they watch games on television the next two weekends.
Or they can put them over their heads, and they'll see as well as they did on that final play last Saturday.