On the surface, the looming departure of senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino is a big deal for the league, given that the league office will now have final say over replay review. The experience Blandino takes with him over the past three years regarding the participation in replay review has even greater significance, based on recent comments from NFL Referees Association executive director Scott Green.
Blandino technically had been consulting with referees during replay review, through the real-time line of communication from the league office to the various stadiums. As a practical matter, Blandino already has been calling the shots, according to Green.
“In essence, they were pretty much making those decisions before,” Green said. “It’s not that big a change.”
It’s no surprise. While the referee had final say over the process until three weeks ago, any disagreement with Blandino regarding replay review amounted to a disagreement with the referee’s boss. Which means that the referees likely weren’t disagreeing with Blandino very much, if t all.
So, basically, Blandino’s experience as a consultant to the referee at the game site becomes experience as the person with final say. Which underscores the value of the experience that he’ll be carrying with him to FOX, and the importance of hiring someone who has never been involved in that process to be trusted to do it the right way, right out of the gates.