If Stan Van Gundy had his way, when the officials miss a crucial call late in the Super Bowl Sunday, the incorrect call would just stand. No instant replay.
Van Gundy doesn’t like replay. Actually, that’s too kind a phrasing — he hates it. He doesn’t want it. Not at the end of NBA games. Not ever. He does not like it in a box, he does not like it with a fox. He does not like it here or there. He does not like it anywhere.
Here are Van Gundy’s comments from pregame Monday, via The Brooklyn Game (hat tip Eye on Basketball).
“If it were up to me, in all of sports, we’d get rid of all of it,” Van Gundy said in a candid pre-game interview before taking on the Brooklyn Nets Monday evening. “I sort of came to that in my two years out of coaching, sitting and watching games, college and pro.
“It’s infuriating watching the game and watching the last two minutes take 20 minutes and stuff. You know, going to the monitor four times in the last two minutes, it’s like, ‘damn, can we just play this basketball game?’ So I whipped through two years of just sitting there as a spectator and absolutely hated it….
“I know the rationale is we want to get it right, but that’s only partially true anyway. Because we’re not reviewing foul calls and non-foul calls, which are the most important calls. We don’t care about getting those right. So why are we going to worry about the rest of it? I don’t — I don’t get it. We’ve selected certain calls at certain times in the games that we want to get right. And for the other 46 minutes of the game, and for certain calls in the last two minutes, I guess we don’t care if we get it right.”
So SVG is good with one of those honest referee mistakes costing his team a game or two a season? I’m sure he would accept that with a Zen-like calmness.
Count me — and I think the majority of fans — on the other side of the argument. We want to see things be called correctly. The NBA has done a good job this season setting up the Replay Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, which makes these calls faster and takes many of the calls out of the hands of the in-arena officials (who sometimes seem to have their egos on the line with these calls). Can it get a little annoying sometimes? Yes. Does it give the coaches of teams in close games a couple of free timeouts? Sure does.
But I’ll live with that to get the calls right. I’ll just buy Stan a Diet Pepsi to calm him down.