MLL Instant Replay: The First Mistake


At the end of the third quarter of the recent Boston Cannons vs Chesapeake Bayhawks game, John Grant Jr seemingly scored a buzzer-beater that tied the game at nine goals apiece. The play was initially ruled a goal, but Cannons’ head coach John Tucker challenged the call (specifically, if time had run out before Junior shot the ball), and crew chief Rich Tamberrino went to the video replay to check it out, much like NBA refs do for their buzzer-beaters.

Once reviewed, it was determined Junior still had the ball when time ran out, and the goal was waived off.

However, you may remember a very similar situation playing out during a recent Lizards-Rattlers game, where New York’s Joe Spallina wanted, and was denied, a similar challenge (buzzer-beaters then being declared ineligible for review under the new replay rules). So which one was the right call? I caught up with MLL commissioner David Gross, who had this to say on the matter:

Unfortunately, we had a case of human error as it relates to our new instant replay rule. The way our rule is currently written, that specific play at the end of the third quarter was not reviewable. This is the first year that there has ever been instant replay in field lacrosse. We expected somewhere along the line we would find a flaw in how we wrote the rule, or how it was enforced. After the season, our rules committee reviews everything, and suggests improvements for the following year.

So there you have it: the ruling from the Rattlers game was right.

I’m thinking they’ll adjust this rule in the off-season and allow buzzer-beaters to be reviewed, possibly even without being prompted by a coaches’ challenge. Luckily the Bayhawks pulled out a win and the reversal (barring an unfortunate tiebreaker scenario down the road) seems like it was ultimately harmless.

For more Week 11 action, check out the MLL Week 11 Recap and Highlgihts post.