At the Scouting Combine, the prevailing view on potential revisions to the replay system consisted of: (1) no change to centralized replay review; and (2) the possible involvement of V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino during the replay review conducted on the field by the referee.
Peter King of TheMMQB.com reports that he’s hearing the NFL will “discuss and consider” allowing Blandino to consult with referees during the replay review.
Last month, the chatter at the Combine indicated that the league already had been trying, in certain circumstances, to give Blandino a chance in real time to prevent an erroneous replay ruling.
If that’s what ultimately is adopted, it’s better than nothing. Better still would be the use of an on-site official who constantly monitors the available TV angles and intervenes not during the formal replay process but as the rulings on the field are made.
The tactic initially should be utilized for a fairly narrow band of blunders that can be quickly spotted and corrected. If successful, it’s use should be expanded.
Regardless of scope, the potentially season-deciding failure of the officiating crew at the NFC title game to realize that 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman had the ball in his possession and was down by contact should be enough to get the league to ensure that, when the millions watching at home know more than the seven game officials combined, a quick fix can be made via an off-field official telling the referee through an ear piece that a big mistake is about to be made.