February 2, 2012

Pandora's box and the idea of replaying games

Go back to Nov. 2009 when Ireland and France were playing the second leg of their World Cup qualifying playoff.

A trip to South Africa and the 2010 World Cup Final was on the line and in the waning moments of the game, a clear handball by Thierry Henry was missed and led to the winning goal from France.

Game over. Irish eyes were crying ... including mine.

After the game, the incident made international headlines and calls came from all over the globe for FIFA to order the game be replayed due to the controversial non call.

For as much as I was hurting over the loss at the hands of an egregious error, the idea of the game being replayed after being determined by a bad call was not an idea I wanted to see take place.

Why?

It would open a Pandora's box and cause more issues than it would be solving.

Like the clock malfunction in Los Angeles last night that cost the Blue Jackets a point in the standings and an opportunity to grab an extra one in overtime, Henry's handball was the deciding factor in a game. But there are mistakes and chances for mistakes to occur at any point in a game, not just at the end of them.

Forcing the Blue Jackets and Kings to play an overtime session when they next meet in March is silly; same as replaying the game entirely. Mistakes happen in every game. Whether it's at the five-minute mark of the first period or in the dying seconds. Bad calls, clock malfunctions, referees getting in the way of play ... it happens.

But if you want to have games or instances of games replayed because of bad endings, why not if a missed call happens earlier in the game? Who's to say a game clock can have similar malfunction earlier in the game when no one would even really notice and either extend or lessen the game by a matter of seconds? In reality it could have an effect on the game.

If the FIFA and NHL decided to replay any portion of the two games I've mentioned, then that would open the door for that to happen after any controversial instance in a game that ends up having an effect on the outcome.

Sometimes teams are going be on the wrong end of a bad situation, but as we often see in sports, bounces and calls find a way of evening out in the end. While Columbus' season has been over for sometime, they'll likely be on the benefiting side of a few calls before the year ends.

Sports can be funny like that.

Photo credit: Puck Daddy via NHL.com