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Sports >  NFL

Couch Slouch: Play game, make calls, move on, no replay

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 14, 2020

Couch Slouch says Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph pushed off New Orleans cornerback P.J. Williams before hauling in the winning pass in the wild-card round of the playoffs. (Brett Duke / AP)
Couch Slouch says Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph pushed off New Orleans cornerback P.J. Williams before hauling in the winning pass in the wild-card round of the playoffs. (Brett Duke / AP)

Note to Readers: The bad news? This will be my 38th column on replay since 1986. The good news? When I get to my 40th, I will retire to an elder-care facility in suburban Monte Carlo that has eight bowling lanes, two air hockey tables and a vending machine that sells Bugles.

To be fair, replay as an officiating tool remains only the fifth-worst global problem, behind climate change, world hunger, the decline of American exceptionalism and the inability to find anything you like when clothes shopping.

It is an endless procession of did-he-or-didn’t-he moments to examine:

Did he cross the goal line? Are his feet in or out on the sideline? Did he maintain possession through the process of the catch? Did his knee hit the ground before he fumbled? Did the ball hit the ground after he caught it? Was the quarterback’s arm going forward?

My goodness, President Trump won’t even release his tax returns – how can we be reviewing THIS RUBBISH?

This remains a rabbit hole from which we can never dig out.

Life is always better when you just let it happen. We shouldn’t take photos of our food when it’s served, we shouldn’t analyze sunsets and waterfalls, we shouldn’t review where the official spots the ball on a third-and-6 completion that goes for 5 3/4 yards.

The NFL put in a replay rule change this season to deal with exactly what transpired in New Orleans a weekend ago – the last play of a postseason game, on a decisive touchdown in which an apparent offensive pass interference went uncalled, and they did not even review it.

That’s like installing a metal detector at a nightclub and letting “Wild Bill” Hickock walk through the front door without turning it on.

It was such an obvious push-off by Kyle Rudolph, it shoved me off my own sofa.

By the way, if they had overturned it, what a mess. You have this dramatic, overtime-ending touchdown pass. You have half the Minnesota Vikings streaming across the field with helmets off to celebrate with Rudolph, and the other half sprinting into the locker room. And then, several minutes later, you have The Eye in the Sky bellowing:

“Offensive pass interference. No touchdown. Players, please return to the huddle. Fans, please return to your seats.”

And who would determine this? NFL officiating czar Al Riveron.

Al Riveron? Who is this guy? He has more power than a Supreme Court justice and is more mysterious than The Man in the Iron Mask. Remember in “The Wizard of Oz,” the Wizard was just some small chap behind a curtain? Well, Riveron is just some middle-aged fella on a Park Avenue BarcaLounger watching a bank of screens while guzzling Bud Light with clicker in hand.

He decides the fate of all NFL games?

This is insanity.

Just play the game, make the calls, move on.

You’re cooking a three-egg omelette. You drop one of the eggs. You just get another egg out of the fridge and call Daisy in to lick the yolk off the kitchen floor. No replay.

Play the game, make the calls, move on.

You’re bowling. Your buddy may or may not be going over the foul line when releasing the ball. So what? You buy him another Yuengling and a corn dog. No replay.

Play the game, make the calls, move on.

You have a fender bender on the 405. You yell for a bit, argue briefly with the other motorist, then exchange insurance information and get back into the car. No replay.

Play the game, make the calls, move on.

You are married. Then you go to family court, and you are no longer married. Do you make a big stink about it? Negative. You go home, you lick your wounds, you get back on the Tinder horse. No replay.

Play the game, make the calls, move on.

I am constantly told: The genie is out of the bottle, there is no going back. Really? Why not? This genie is unsightly, unworthy and unneeded. Costco lets you return any merchandise for any reason – what, we can’t stuff this demonic spirit back into the decanter and send it out to sea?

I’d watch that replay again and again.

Ask The Slouch

Q. The Los Angeles Dodgers signed pitcher Jimmy Nelson to a one-year $1.25 million contract, with as much as $13 million (!) in incentives if he lasts two years. What incentives did you offer Toni for your marriage to last this long? (Jim Tise; Bethesda, Maryland)

A. Every time Toni makes it six months, I promised her she would not have to speak to me for the next six months.

Q. I learned that “Bachelor” star Jade Roper Tolbert “won” $1 million on DraftKings’ Millionaire Maker daily fantasy contest, and “may” have “colluded” with her husband Tanner on their 300 combined entries. I really don’t have a question. (Mitchell Shapiro; Rockville, Maryland)

A. I really don’t have an answer then. P.S. No question, no 10 bits.

Q. Is it true that Queen Elizabeth plans to use the franchise tag to keep Prince Harry? (Terry Golden; Vienna, Virginia)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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