Last month, the NFL gave Dean Blandino unprecedented power, giving the head of officiating final say over replay reviews for the first time. Today, news broke that Blandino is quitting the NFL to work for FOX.
That news reportedly came as a surprise at the league office.
Ed Werder reported on ESPN that several league sources were caught off guard by Blandino’s departure, with one unnamed source calling it “shocking.” Werder said that Blandino was already considering leaving to work in broadcasting when the league decided to centralize instant replay authority in his office, but league officials apparently didn’t know Blandino was considering leaving.
Werder said one of the reasons the Competition Committee was able persuade the owners to change the rules is that the owners were confident Blandino would do the job well, and it’s unclear whether the rule would have been changed at all if the owners had known Blandino was leaving.
Perhaps the NFL should have signed Blandino to a multi-year contract that precluded him from leaving to go into broadcasting before changing the rules in a way that gave him unprecedented power. Or just paid him a salary that would be enough to make him reject any TV offers.