Shutdown Corner - NFL

Sun Sep 14 04:53pm EDT

'The replay equipment is not working'

In what may be a first in NFL history, instant replay failed not because of human error, but because of technological error. 

The headline was the first thing Ed Hochuli said after a challenge early in the Chargers/Broncos game. There was a challenge, there was a lengthy pause, and what we got when it was done was Hochuli coming out and saying the equivalent of, "Hey, this damn thing's broken."

Philip Rivers completed a short slant to Chris Chambers, and Champ Bailey stripped the ball out. Replay showed that Chambers had an elbow down on the turf before Bailey yanked the ball away, but the call on the field was that Bailey had taken it away legally. The Broncos converted the phantom turnover into a score.

I don't understand. I assume they check these things before the game, and I assume that once they have things in working order, they take measures to make sure that Mike Shanahan can't kick a cord out of a socket at his convenience. And beyond that, even if the little overly-intricate system isn't working, couldn't you just substitute, a television and a pair of rabbit ears? Is there a Best Buy in Denver? A Wal-Mart, perhaps?

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