As the NFL continues to use technology to improve officiating, there’s increasing talk that some day the league might put an official in a booth above the field, watching the game on TV, and communicating instantly with the referee on the field without needing to stop the game and look at an instant replay. NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino says that’s possible, but the league will be cautious about it.
Blandino told PFT’s Mike Florio that the NFL might add a booth official beyond the replay assistant who currently helps the referee with replay reviews. But Blandino also believes that the game is meant to have the officials on the field with the players.
“It’s something we’ve discussed, a video official — the Canadian Football League is actually implementing that this year,” Blandino said. “And as the technology gets better, it becomes more feasible. So we just have to continue to monitor that. But we can’t lose that human element. The officials on the field for the most part have the best vantage point. The rules are written in a way to allow for full-speed officiating, and we just have to keep that in mind as we consider these other enhancements.”
NFL fans, however, seem to be growing increasingly wary of the human element in officiating, as the fans at home often have a better view of a play than the official on the field has. Eventually, the league may need to give an official the view the fans have.