The NFL has filled Dean Blandino’s job with not one or two but three people. Beyond Alberto Riveron becoming the new senior V.P. of officiating and Russell Yurk being the chief of instant replay and administration, Wayne Mackie assumes control of the evaluation and development efforts. But the internal memo communicating the decision (a copy of which PFT has obtained) and the announcement from the league omitted one key job function: Who will be the public voice and face of NFL officiating?
According to the NFL, it will be Riveron.
It’s a critically important aspect of the job, requiring rules and their application and interpretation to be explained in a variety of settings, from appearances on NFL Network to the valuable in-season weekly officiating video to interviews with independent outlets (like PFT Live). The overall sense of public confidence in the NFL hinges to a large extent on the quality and objectivity of these explanations, with fans and media always probing for any evidence to suggest that the person who is expected to be honest and candid is covering up mistakes or making excuses.
Blandino and Mike Pereira before him excelled in that role, for the most part. Carl Johnson, who held the position between Pereira and Blandino, didn’t. Whether Riveron is viewed as thriving as the senior V.P. of officiating will depend in large part on whether he becomes an authoritative and trusted resource for calls gotten right and calls gotten wrong.