This seems as uncontroversial as it comes: everyone, from fans to bookmakers to players and coaches and officials alike, just wants the NFL to get calls right. So why is there so much resistance to Bill Belichick's long-fought attempts to have cameras permanently installed on every field's boundary lines? The owners shot down Belichick's proposal again this week, and the Patriots coach is fed up.
Here's the proposed rule change: about a dozen new cameras, permanently installed in each stadium:
There's no guarantee the views from these cameras, in perfect position to determine whether a runner stayed inbounds or the ball crossed the plane of the goal line, wouldn't be obstructed on some plays. But there's also no debating that they'd provide definitive angles in many replay situations that are currently found to be "inconclusive."
There is literally no drawback to doing this. So why hasn't it happened? John Mara, speaking for the owners, parroted the reasoning they drag out every year. They claim the cameras would be too expensive to install.
This is insane. This league is more profitable than it's ever been, to the point where it's handing out eight-figure bonuses to executives, and it can't find the cash to enhance the integrity of its product? Fuck outta here.
Belichick's mad. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, after the proposal was voted down, Belichick railed against the decision in a closed-door meeting with league officials.
"They were in a meeting the other day with Dean Blandino, the head of the officials, and Bill Belichick got up there, and in profane language, told the NFL: 'We spend money to send the Pro Bowl to Brazil, we spend money to go overseas to London, but we can't spend money to have four cameras in the end zone, four cameras to help determine the correct call in the end zone on certain plays?'"
Pro Football Talk described Belichick's complaints as more subdued and less profane, but the thrust was the same.
Belichick has been banging this drum for a while (last year he said that if the owners are so short of cash, they should "hold a bake sale"), and he's absolutely right. His proposal is logical, and the owners' excuse makes no sense. Which raises the most important question of all: if we all agree the owners are lying about why they're voting no, what could possibly be the real reason for their opposition to more cameras?