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Henry's Highlights
Thursday, November 13, 2003

By Henry Hinton
Broadcaster & Owner of Greenville Cable 7

Time has come for 'Piratevision' in I-A


Cable 7 Audio: Replay Midweek Tailgate with Henry Hinton, Steve Logan, Mike Steele & guest Bill Herrion...  Select clip...

Enough has been said about East Carolina’s near miss loss to South Florida last weekend and the bizarre way the game ended, so I’m not going to pile on the beleaguered officiating crew.... other than to say that the infamous end zone pass that was trapped and called a touchdown is just another reason why instant replay should be considered at the Division I-A level.

Yeah, yeah, I know the arguments against. Too expensive. Too much delay in the action. The bad calls even out over time. It just isn’t the way the game is suppose to be played.

Tell that to those heartbroken players in the Pirate locker room who had to endure the two replays on the giant screen in the end zone that showed the ball clearly hit the ground.

Everyone in the stadium was able to re-live the play by videotape within moments of the call — everyone except the officials, that is.

I spoke about my positive feelings about instant replay on my radio/television show this week and got the expected feedback. One email said Elon and Catawba would never be able to afford it and it wouldn’t be right if all colleges were not eligible for it.

Well, guess what? Elon and Catawba can’t afford “Piratevision” in the end zone either. Division I-A schools can afford it. It’s time for it to happen.

As for the delay in the action, I never have understood the amount of time it takes NFL officials to review the tape.

Let’s face it. The national television audience knows within seconds if the officials blew the call. If John Madden can get it right in 15 seconds, why can’t the officials?

Anniversaries to ponder

In just a few days, the anniversary of last year’s ECU-Texas Christian game will be here. The Pirates won that game over the Horned Frogs 31-28 on November 23rd. That was the last time TCU lost a game. It was also the last time the Pirates won a game in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

I recall hosting the post-game call in show after that one a year ago. ECU fans were disturbed that the Pirates allowed TCU to rush for 445 yards in spite of the fact the defense forced 7 turnovers.

There were also complaints that the Pirate offense never got cranked up in spite of two Paul Troth to Richard Alston touchdown passes, three Kevin Miller field goals and a fumble recovery that resulted in an 81 yard touchdown run by Travis Heath.

When you think about it in context, it seems a little odd. People were upset with a win over a Top 25 team a year ago and complained about the way in which ECU won the game. This past Saturday, our team received a standing ovation after losing one. I guess all things are relative. (By the way, before I start getting negative email, I also stood and applauded our team’s great effort at game’s end).

Finally, Pirate fans everywhere should pause a moment tomorrow to remember another significant day in our history. It was 33 years ago tomorrow, November 14, 1970, that the Marshall football team played that fateful game in our stadium and then climbed aboard a charter flight back to Huntington, West Virginia.

After losing a narrow 17-14 decision to ECU in front of 8,711 fans in Ficklen Stadium, the entire team and traveling party were killed when the plane hit a mountain as it tried to find the runway in bad weather at Tri-State Airport.

Pirate players who participated in that game continue to recall the feeling they had when they heard the news that night. Many have told me over the years that the minute they heard the awful news they recalled the face of the young man they lined up against on the line of scrimmage that day.

A bit ironic, isn’t it, that in the same week 33 years later, Marshall would announce it is joining the same conference of the Pirates.

For most of us who have been around ECU athletics a while, it has been hard to think of the Thundering Herd without recalling that event.

Perhaps now the future ECU-Marshall games will produce memories to erase that awful day.

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02/23/2007 10:12:09 AM


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