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Replay:  NFL's Rain Delay
August 9, 2002

This could be entitled another "Stuff That Bugs Me" column, but you don't really need to know about my lack of affection for strawberries (fur and seeds?  no thanks!) and I want to focus on the NFL rule known as "Instant Replay" or "Coach's Challenge."

Last night I'm flipping channels and stumble upon a preseason Steelers - Jets game on ESPN.  As soon as I tune in, a Pittsburgh receiver makes a controversial catch on the sidelines.  They review it on TV about 63 times.  After the 4th replay of the same camera angle, I switch to Hoosiers on TNN.  The "new" TNN, as it's called, has chosen to put a black, non-scrolling "ticker" on the bottom of the screen with the words "MOVIE: HOOSIERS."  I suppose this is to warn the viewer that this is NOT the other basketball movie with Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, and Barbara Hershey but indeed, Hoosiers.  Anyway, I watch Shooter give the team the "picket fence" speech, executed flawlessly before I switch back to the football game.

Lo and behold, a "Coach's Challenge" has been issued.  After enduring 20 seconds of watching a striped shirt look through a box like he's watching a peepshow in front of 60,000 fans, I switch over to the White Sox - Angels game.  A few batters later, and after getting over the shock that the Sox were winning in the 6th inning with Jim Parque on the mound, I flip back to the NFL game.  Still, a man looking into a box.

Back to Hoosiers and more of Coach Dale's crazy antics.  It appears that the townsfolk are going to have a vote at the town hall to determine the fate of our fallen hero.  I hope Coach's players rally around him and realize what a positive influence he can be both in basketball and in life in general.  We'll just have to wait and see.  Meanwhile, back to the NFL game.

Son of a donkey!!  The review of the meaningless catch in the meaningless PRESEASON game is still going on!  Since the moment I turned the TV on, exactly ZERO seconds of live action has taken place on the football field.  This is the sole reason why attempting to watch football on TV is not unlike painting your house with an eyeliner brush.  It never ends, but at least in the meantime I can watch Coach Dale lead that stubborn Hickory team to the state championship.  Perhaps by then I can catch the Toyota Halftime Spectacular where the studio suits will analyze the catch (complete with another 31 replays) and even analyze the coach's decision to challenge the call.  Play the game fellas.