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NFL fans attending their favorite team’s game can now see what the refs see on the field when it comes to replay. It was announced today that the NFL will play what the referee’s are seeing “under the hood” on the jumbo screen in the stadium while the officials are reviewing plays. This is an attempt by the league to improve the in-game experience for fans, and draw more people to stadium. The league is also working on phone applications that would enhance the fan experience, like an app in which the viewer can watch highlights and an app that allows fans can hear player and coach sideline chatter. “If there’s a downside to this I just don’t see it,” said Lee DeKemper, subbing for Justin Pawlowski on The Commish.
These technological enhancements are being praised by the majority of fans, but some fans wonder if the changes are the opening of Pandora’s box. Could the NFL become too tech-savvy and lose its original appeal? “I can see a scenario where this does get out of control, but my brain just can’t think that far into it,” said Steve Isbit, also subbing for The Commish.
One concern that has been raised is how the fans will react to seeing the replays on the screen. Some people think that fans in a drunken state could overwhelm referee’s as they review plays, and sway the officials. “There is just no way that a fan is going to intimidate a ref. They wear those headphones, they can barely hear them,” DeKemper said.
Another concern among football fans is that opposing teams will be able to get a glimpse or hear what’s going on at the other team’s sideline. The proposed app for in-game chatter could be used in a spy-gate way for a team to get an advantage. “You really don’t think teams and coaches like Bill Belichick aren’t already doing this?” asked DeKemper. “I just don’t see where this can be a bad thing for football in the NFL. It improves the game experience, it gets people in the stands.”