HD TV and modern technology has not been kind to the officiating in many different sports leagues, leading to ever-increasing outcries as fans can now back up, slow down, and watch in detail all the calls referees and umpires have missed. And when plays like Armando Galarraga's broken up no-hitter and Dez Bryant's catch that apparently wasn't a catch unfolded in front of an eagle-eyed public, protests immediately began to give the teams in games more power in the face of those officiating the game.
This isn't necessarily a dig against officials, who are, after all, only human. It is good to have a system of checks and balances in place and it does not seem to have detracted from the overall enjoyment of the NFL, NHL, and the MLB to see that coaches and managers have the ability to challenge questionable calls.
Now, the coach's challenge is coming to the NBA. At the annual meeting for the NBA's board of governors, they unanimously voted to approve new rules for the league, which includes the introduction of the coach's challenge as well as league replays for specific types of plays on the court.
The challenge has been a part of both the G League and the summer league and is going to be given a one-year shot at making a positive impact on basketball. The rules of the challenge are simple. Any calls, including traveling, fouling, goaltending, and more, can be challenged at any point during the game. Coaches get one challenge to use and there is no penalty if the challenge is unsuccessful. However, challenges for interference and out of bounds calls will not be permitted in the final two minutes of the game as they will be instantly reviewed instead.
Ultimately, this only seems like a net positive for the teams around the league, including the Boston Celtics. You never know when a game or a season could hang in the balance on one call and it would help to have a challenge for such a play. The Celtics also have the added benefit of Brad Stevens being their head coach, who is both intellectual and strategic.
We'll have to see how it works going forward, but even though the NBA referees have a very difficult job, that's reason not to keep them in check.