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League privately downplays officiating conference call

Late yesterday afternoon, Jay Glazer of FOX reported that the NFL will conduct a conference call on Friday with all officials for the purposes of giving the men in black and white a “pep talk” and to clean up mistakes.

Publicly, the league-owned website has devoted a top-of-the-stack story to the Glazer report, characterized the report as something Glazer “reported” while appearing on NFL Network’s Total Access

Privately, the league is characterizing the situation much differently, explaining that the conference call was not scheduled to address officiating mistakes or to provide a pep talk to the men charged with getting the calls right.

As explained in a memo sent by V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson to all teams, key portions of which we have obtained, the conference call is part of new V.P. of officiating Carl Johnson’s goal to expand and improve communications among the members of the officiating staff, the 32 NFL clubs, and the league office.   

The memo explains that the conference call will include “all members of the Officiating staff, including supervisors, trainers and instant replay crews,” and that it is intended to “provide an opportunity to review common issues relating to application of the playing rules, game management, player safety, and instant replay.” 

Anderson’s memo also points out an “expectation” that “calls of this type will become a regular feature of our training and review program, along with our pre-season clinic, weekly training videos, our program of grading and film review, in-person teaching by veteran officials, and other steps to ensure that our games continue to feature the highest quality officiating.”

That said, we assume/hope that the call will include some tough talk aimed at officials who can’t get calls right that happen right in front of them, or who overturn via replay review calls that had been made correctly in the first instance.  But to the extent that this conference call has been painted as a bat-signal-style gathering to shore up a troubled pack of zebras, the league’s position is that the conference call is “unprecedented” only because it’s the first time this new communications initiative will be utilized.

Of course, it’s entirely possible (and some would say likely) that the memo is merely cover for dealing with an all-hands-on-deck crisis in officiating.  Given our stubborn refusal to accept things at face value, we’re inclined to agree with Glazer’s characterization of the events. 

And, hopefully, we’ve sufficiently harmonized the two realities in a manner that won’t prompt Glazer to threaten to “choke [me] out.”

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20 Responses to “League privately downplays officiating conference call”
  1. Kisstherings says: Oct 29, 2010 9:41 AM

    Maybe Glazer had it wrong from the get-go??

  2. Jeremy says: Oct 29, 2010 9:43 AM

    Goodell: Is everybody here?
    Head of officials: Yes sir.
    Goodell: Good. Suck less. That is all.

  3. HarrisonHits says: Oct 29, 2010 9:53 AM

    Of course the league denies they are trying to clean up crap calls by crap officials and is acting like everything is perfect.
    NFL refs are getting worse by the week.

  4. gforce89 says: Oct 29, 2010 9:55 AM

    The conference call was to determine how many bogus calls the league will give the Steelers this weekend.

  5. thecuz says: Oct 29, 2010 9:57 AM


    Hopefully, we’ve sufficiently harmonized the two realities in a manner that won’t prompt Glazer to threaten to “choke [me] out.”
    WTF are u talking about?

  6. Rockymtnphinfan says: Oct 29, 2010 9:58 AM

    Glazer is a narcissistic douche bag!

  7. SteelTown-6 says: Oct 29, 2010 9:58 AM

    Full. Time. Officials.

  8. thecuz says: Oct 29, 2010 10:11 AM

    Full time officials are not the answer. Look at baseball / hockey / basketball / ==> they get wrong as well. The good thing football has going it for itself is the replay. It makes the officials look good to over turn their blown calls. Face it, there is holding in every play if the refs want to call it. Overall they do a good job for having to view so many aspects/angles of the game. In baseball, theoretically u dont need an umpire. U can have a camera calling ball and strikes and do it very efficiently. Strike zone will always remain the same and even slides on the home plate can be called by cameras. they have the strike zone know we see on tv. Cant do that in football but replay makes up for the human element.

  9. FlyinO says: Oct 29, 2010 10:15 AM

    SteelTown-6*
    Full time officials would kill the Steelers. That , and developing a test for HGH. Without zebra love, no victory over Seahawks or Cardinals. It appears that it has been mandated that Steelers are allowed to hold in Superbowls, especially when Rapistberger is running for his life.

  10. Lucky5927 says: Oct 29, 2010 10:23 AM

    The issue is the replay officials are not as good as they should be. I am so sick of hearing the NFL sent an email/called ______ team to apologize for the wrong call was made. One loss can derail or decide a season. The Packers -Vikings game was a prime example. Vikings when that game, they put themselves in a much better position to win the division. The thing that is most annoying is the officials on the field had the Shianco touchdown called correctly in real time. Yet the replay official could not see what the everyone else saw… in slow motion. Something needs to be done as too many teams are coming out on the losing end of these calls when they should not. Another issue needs to be more camera angles. Too many times officials rely on two camera angles, one of which is usually blocked by a player or ref. I think we need to help these replay officials out with more views of a play. Finally, common sense needs to accompany the rule book when applying the rules.

  11. riverhorse says: Oct 29, 2010 10:31 AM

    the refs are so bad they’re high schoolish. you’d think it would improve over time but it just gets worse and worse.
    it’s every game every week and it’s making the game look bad. it’s so obvious it looks like refs are getting paid off to make bad calls.

  12. SteelTown-6 says: Oct 29, 2010 10:50 AM

    # FlyinO says: October 29, 2010 10:15 AM
    SteelTown-6*
    Full time officials would kill the Steelers. That , and developing a test for HGH. Without zebra love, no victory over Seahawks or Cardinals. It appears that it has been mandated that Steelers are allowed to hold in Superbowls, especially when Rapistberger is running for his life.
    ===========
    When winners lose, they blame themselves.
    When losers lose, they blame everybody else.
    ..like you’re doing…

  13. steelersmichele says: Oct 29, 2010 10:50 AM

    FlyinO–I hope you’re not married. Because to dwell on something over and over that happened years ago leads me to believe you never forgive your wife…or co-workers…or friends..or your children.
    Get over it and move on. Seriously. To not do that means you’re still harboring some anger and jealousy and that’s never a good thing.
    And just to clarify some of the comments: the same refs you are blasting for giving us the game are the same refs that called the Steelers for fumbling on our first two possessions.
    If they were really cheating, they wouldn’t have said Ben fumbled during his first drive. They could have said forward motion and gave us the ball back–but that Pittsburgh ref called fumble right away and we lost the ball a second time.

  14. drewboyy says: Oct 29, 2010 11:01 AM

    “Privately, the league is characterizing the situation much differently, explaining that the conference call was not scheduled to address officiating mistakes or to provide a pep talk to the men charged with getting the calls right.”
    -of course not, because they dont really care whether they get the calls right or not. what theyre concerned about is getting exposed as “biased” or “manipulative”. the conference call is, most likely, an attempt to reign in these rodeo clowns from making such “obvious mistakes”. what youll see from here on out will be a more subtle approach. the use (or lack) of “illegal contact” and “holding” calls should become a bit more prevalent as a means to control “the game”.

  15. mike s says: Oct 29, 2010 11:11 AM

    Its absolutely impossible for the officials to be perfect. They’re human.
    The best thing the NFL can do is minimize their impact and minimize the impact of the instant replay. There are 7 officials on the field for 100 plays in 14-16 games each week. You only hear about a few screw ups.
    The NBA, NHL, and MLB have full time officials. They’re not any better than the NFL.

  16. WaltColeman says: Oct 29, 2010 11:11 AM

    Here is what they are going to recommend as the solution…
    Never admit mistakes to coaches. That looks bad.
    When you use instant replay don’t try to come up with a “tuck rule” kind of explanation like the Pittsburgh game where they had to have clear evidence of who got the football. Rather, just make a bad call and don’t explain it, just like when the Stealers were awarded a TD to Santonio Holmes when he didn’t get into end zone to be the Ravens. It is much better to keep fans thinking it is bad eyesight, than to try and justify with a “tuck rule”. I know the Dolphin guy just handed me the football, but heck I don’t have clear evidence who got it.

  17. HAUS says: Oct 29, 2010 11:40 AM

    They need this conference to come up with a few new fresh, exciting and entertaining ways of screwing over the Vikings. As well as being able to fine Chilly until his wage is more inline with his ability. I can hardly wait.

  18. rsa says: Oct 29, 2010 12:10 PM

    “…or who overturn via replay review calls that had been made correctly in the first instance.”
    I assume that includes the Shiancoe TD reversal. I believe the reversal was the right call. When the ball hit the ground, it SLID FOUR INCHES in Shiancoe hands. That ain’t control, baby.
    Whatever. With technology today, there’s no reason that when plays are challenged, the video replays can’t go to the league office and someone there makes the uphold or reverse decision in real time. No more blaming the refs.
    Somehow, I doubt the league would do any better than the time-challenged refs do at the stadium.

  19. Lucky5927 says: Oct 29, 2010 3:53 PM

    RSA,
    Funny, I didn’t see you on the field with a ruler measuring 4 inches. And to refute your position on that catch… The field ref made the right call, I agreed with the call, and the head ref for the NFL agreed with the call. Hence the apology to the Vikings. The ball moved under his stomach, BECAUSE his hands moved WITH the ball. Considering a man of his size, with the momentum of a diving catch, not only made the catch, but held it securely as he hit the ground was remarkable. Point Blank. My other issue if you must know, was the call with the Packers TE catching the ball and landing out of bounds a hair of a second before he touched in bounds. That call was incorrectly made. Now I am not a Vikings fan… and tend to root more for Green Bay as my second favorite team… but I can look at this subjectively. Can you??

  20. WaltColeman says: Nov 2, 2010 3:32 PM

    Lets hope they have a line to Vegas…A telephone line rather than a betting one. Vegas and the Stealers are a hard combination to beat.

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