Why doesn't anybody want to get it right? What is this aversion to instant replay? It seems pretty simple: use it and get competent people to implement it. Any fan off the street can rewind a VCR... why can't a referee?
The NHL finals ended on a play where Brett Hull was clearly in the crease and it's strongly debateable whether he had control of the puck. This was a goal that was consistently nullified during the regular season. So what does the NHL do in it's effort to avoid controversy? It abandons replay in situations concerning the crease. These are about the only situations that require replay! What are they thinking?
Vinny Testaverde scored a touchdown in the closing seconds against the Seahawks that essentially 1) gave the Jets homefield advantage for the first couple of rounds of the playoffs, 2) knocked Seattle out of the playoffs and thus 3) got the Seattle coach fired. And Testaverde still isn't in the end zone. Replays show clearly show that no part of Testaverde or the ball got past the goal line. In the playoffs, Jerry Rice clearly fumbles on the last drive of the game. Instant replay confirms this fact. And yet the 49ers are allowed to continue the drive, score, and knock the Packers out of the playoffs. In another playoff game, Andre Reed clearly scores a touchdown to bring the Bills within a score. Every angle of replay clearly shows he's in the endzone. Instead, the refs rule he's down short of the goal line. A side light of this event was that the ruling ref stood over Reed as he tried to get up, instigating contact, and then threw Reed out of the game with nearly a quarter left. Three situations that absolutely reversed the outcomes of PLAYOFF games and yet football was reluctant to institute even a cursory form of instant replay review.
Recently, umpiring crew chief Frank Pulli consulted a replay of a Cliff Floyd hit that had been ruled a home run. After seeing the replay, he correctly called the hit a double. The next day, baseball chiefs for both leagues said that baseball would not start using replay even if it meant getting plays right.
How many Jeffery Maier episodes or Eric Gregg strikezones does baseball, or for that matter sports in general, have to endure until the people who run things decide it's time to get it right? Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" goal in the 1986 semifinals, Jorge Orta's infield single in the '85 World Series and Drew Pearson's push-off touchdown in the 1975 NFC championship game were all game-deciding blown calls in crucial, if not championship games. I can't even start to list the number of basketball games that have been decided by ridiculous non-calls on superstars. How many championships have to be decided due to incompetent refereeing/umpiring before some governing body gets tired of controversy.
The way I see it, there's only one solution: Dump all on the field refs. They are an argumentative bunch and blow too many calls as it is. Instead, have 1 camera for every 2 players on the field, with an official at each. When he sees something flagrant, he pushes a button, a horn or buzzer sounds and the penalty is assessed. Where there's a zone to be measured (hockey's crease, soccer's goalie box, baseball's strikezone, footbal sidelines, etc) use lasers and electric eyes to cover violations.
Yeah, sure it's high tech and it'll probably take a couple of years to get it right, but as long as the leagues don't have complete idiots running the equipment, the officating will be a whole lot less obtrusive (how annoying is it to see Greg Bonin's or Charlie William's histrionics after throwing someone out) and a whole lot more accurate. Then again, look who's running things now.