None of that is why I am watching less sports though. I'm not watching football so much anymore because of the instant replay system, which is patently corrupt and allows referees to determine the outcome of the game as they see fit even more so than the arbitrary calling of penalties permits. The NFL system is incoherent as it is -- why should you have a limited number of challenges of referee errors? If you permit one, you almost have to permit as many as are necessary, otherwise you concede that "getting it right" has nothing to do with the system. The replay scheme instead is about generating momentum shifts with the assistance of refs, who are notoriously swayed by the home crowd's wishes (if not the casinos'). And it allows for more interminable commercial breaks.
A piece on TNR's site by Josh Patashnik looks at a legal discussion about whether every play should be reviewed. He points out helpfully that every referee decision is pretty arbitrary in football, so replay review is a Potemkin system of crypto-fairness at best. I agree with this completely:
Football does well when it successfully masks the arbitrariness of calls. When these calls are made, as they inevitably must be, it's best just to let sleeping dogs lie, grumble, and move on with the game. By attempting to achieve a standard of refereeing perfection that isn't attainable given the nature of the game and the nature of instant replay, the main effect is to heighten the salience of that arbitrariness, in a way that detracts from the confidence football fans have that the game, in the end, is a fair one.The current replay system, for me, does precisely that for me: "heighten the salience of that arbitrariness." I hate it and that's what I don't watch many football games anymore. Once who wins or loses seems randomly determined, why bother?