Here at Sport Techie we highlight many of the great technological advances of leagues and sports teams. Today though, Senior Writer Greg Lee lists a few “advances” that he could probably do without.
Do you agree or disagree with any? Did we leave any out? Post your thoughts in the comments.
There’s something to be said for the human element in officiating sports…oh wait, no there isn’t. The reason I despise K-Zone is because it’s such a freaking tease. It shows us that balls and strikes calls could be instant and almost 100% accurate while we have to put up with idiot umps, oddly shaped zones, and personal agendas. Not only has it taken away the fun of arguing borderline calls, because the proof is right there, but it’s inherently frustrating that this technology isn’t being used in any sort of useful way. Its only purpose right now is to make umps look worse than they already do. It either need to be seriously implemented or removed from broadcasts, if for nothing else than to keep us sane.
Under Armor Tries to Match Nike Pro Combat
There is no question that Nike is the leader in sports apparel in the U.S. Under Armor will always be playing catch up and sometimes with head-scratching results. The truth is I like UA’s gear but their attempt at matching Nike’s Pro-Combat uniforms was a hilarious, and possibly seizure inducing, failure. Granted, Nike had their own failure with the unis they bestowed upon the University of Georgia, but the rest of their uniforms looked pretty awesome. UA’s failure made Maryland look like they were wearing a sort of uniform Frankenstein that bordered on tragic.
NFL Instant Replay System
I have no problem with the individual technologies that comprise an awful system, but the whole is not equal to the sum of its parts. You’d have to think though, in this age of instant analytics, someone would say: “our system is inefficient and makes us look dumb.” The really funny thing is the international sport of rugby, which only became professional in the early 90s and tends to rest about 20 years behind other sports when it comes to technology, has figured out a system that is faster, simpler, and rarely frustrating. Basically, if there is any question about whether a score was made, the on-field ref radios to another ref in the booth who reviews the play and makes the decision. This generally takes about one minute, and in rugby there’s more that goes into scoring than in football. Instead, with the NFL, I’m forced to sit through a four minute commercial break then emotionally break down when they return to the referee still under that damn shroud.
ESPN Remixes Sports
A DJ remixing news sound-bytes for a minute and a half on Sports Center is something I can do without. But really…why was this approved in the first place? Why subject your viewers to something so blitheringly dumb when we already have to put up with Chris Berman, Skip Bayless, Tedy Bruschi, Jemelle Hill and Stephen A. Smith? Is it filler? Is it because you turned 33 this year and are ready to go through your “Bulworth” phase? Please…just stop.
If you’ve ever seen a 3D broadcast I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain this one to you. To put it simply I’d rather watch sports in Techmo Bowl Vision than 3D. The fact that networks have seen it necessary to role this out and push it while the technology is still in its infantile stages is mind-bottling…You know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle.
Fox NFL Robot
I’m not sure who I feel sorrier for, the producer that has to say “Ok, cut to the Robot” or the computer team that builds and animates the thing.
Astro Turf was rolled out in 1966 at the Houston Astrodome and has been tearing up knee ligaments ever since. I understand that indoor stadiums can’t grow grass but what field sports were ever meant to be played indoors? It is purely a cost saving measure but if you’re a football player you’re 40% more likely to get injured on the stuff. Not mention the recycled tires containing heavy metals that are used to as infill. Maybe I’m a bit nostalgic but there’s something romantic about playing on grass as opposed to plastic shag carpet.
NBA’s New Basketball Fail
The NBA introduced a new synthetic ball in 2006 without consulting players or really studying the differences from the old ball. After players complained enough the NBA admitted its mistake and scrapped the new ball in favor of the older version. We still don’t have an explanation as to why the league thought this was necessary.
Whoever let Floyd Mayweather Jr have his own Twitter
With gems like: “Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise,” Mayweather seems to generate more trouble than good publicity on Twitter. While it is tough to argue with his Twitter success, you wonder how many people are just to see the controversial stuff he says. I understand that many boxing champions try to emulate Ali and his public persona, but someone on Mayweather’s PR team needs to take away his phone.
In the interest of full disclosure I’ll state right now that I am no fan of hockey. It doesn’t interest me. But, Fox’s puck tracking comet tail animation was a hilarious failure. Although the feature was welcomed by new viewers and 7 out of 10 American viewers, it was largely panned by “purists.” On top of this the micro chipped pucks reportedly acted differently on the ice but were unavailable for practice because of how much they cost. The worst part is that this finally gave Canada a legitimate reason to make fun of American sports viewers.
Bonus: Lack of Replay in Baseball
Bud Selig and his uncanny ability to be tuned into the pulse of popular opinion in baseball said that “the appetite for more replay(s) is very low .” Of course, because there have not been any series changing blown calls in recent times-at all. Also great that Selig told everyone this weekend that interest for more replay remains low. Really?
(Photos Courtesy of Hardballtalk.nbcsports.com, Washingtonpost.com and Foxsports.com)