With the regular season fast approaching, there seems to be a growing concern that the league’s decision to move umpires behind the offense, and to require the offense to wait to snap the ball until the umpire is out of the way, could become a serious problem.
The latest news comes from Judy Battista of the New York Times, who reports that NFL teams will get a memo today outlining minor changes the league is making to reduce the problems associated with moving the umpire.
But one change the league could make — moving the umpire back to the defensive side of the field — is apparently not being considered.
Battista also writes that all NFL officials have been told to hustle, and that all seven officials — not just the umpire — can spot the ball if it allows the game to proceed more smoothly.
“The intention was never to disrupt the tempo of a team or slow down any offense,” VP of Officiating Carl Johnson said.
That wasn’t the intention, but it was the effect, at least in the Colts-Packers preseason game, when the Colts were twice penalized for snapping the ball before the umpire was in position. Sending around a memo likely won’t be enough to placate the Colts.