We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Which Professional Sports Use Instant Replay?

By Matthew F.
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Sports n' Hobbies, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Instant replay is used to some degree in almost every major professional sport. Most often associated with professional sports such as football, basketball and hockey, instant replay also is used in baseball, tennis, auto racing and golf. Many other professional sports, including rugby, cricket, field hockey and rodeo, also use replay technology. Even professional soccer, which as of 2012 had resisted any pushes to implement instant replay to assist the officials during matches, uses replay to help determine whether disciplinary sanctions are necessary because of actions taken during matches.

History

The use of instant replay on television broadcasts of professional sporting events had become widespread by the late 1960s. This allowed the broadcasters and everyone who was watching on television to see when mistakes had been made in the officiating or judging of the sporting events. In 1978, the National Football League (NFL) in the United States began studying whether replay technology could be used to review and correct officials' calls during games. The first use of instant replay by a professional sports league, however, was by a competing league — the United States Football League (USFL) — in 1985. As more and more sporting events became televised on a regular basis, thus making replays of all of the action available, other professional sports also began adopting replay systems that could be used in the officiating of their events.

Methods

There generally are three ways that instant replay is used in sports. In some cases, a video official looks for any disputable calls, watches the replay, then corrects the regular officials' decisions, if necessary. Other times, participants or coaches are allowed to dispute certain calls, and an official or video official will then watch the replay to determine whether a call was correct. There also might be times when the officials themselves will review the action on a replay before making a call or to confirm or change a call that was made. Some professional sports might allow any or all of these methods in certain instances.

Usage

Most professional sports restrict the use of instant replay to certain types of calls or for a limited number of instances within a single event. In the NFL, for instance, only certain types of plays — such as those on which possession of the ball is in question — can be challenged by a coach, and only two or three plays can be challenged by each coach in a game. Professional basketball leagues typically permit replays to be used to determine whether a shot was taken before the game clock or shot clock expired and to determine whether a made basket was a 2-pointer or 3-pointer. In most professional sports, different leagues or organizations around the world have their own rules about the use of replay technology, so its application can vary in specific instances.

Soccer

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which is soccer's governing body, had not approved the use of instant replay during matches as of 2012. FIFA uses video evidence only for disciplinary reasons after matches. The organization has long held the position that mistakes by officials are part of the human element of the game. FIFA has, however, authorized some limited testing of video or computerized systems that could help determine whether goals have been scored.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.