The NFL recently changed the buzz words for overturning a decision via replay review from “indisputable visual evidence” to “clear and obvious evidence.” The actual standard is still the same.
And despite curious application of the standard in recent weeks, the NFL says that the standard has not changed.
During a Tuesday media briefing, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart addressed the decision of senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron to overturn a Week Eight touchdown catch by Bears tight end Zach Miller. In multiple videos published last week, Riveron claimed that the evidence showed the ball striking the ground. At very best, it’s difficult to see it. (At worse, it’s not there.)
“I don’t think there’s been any change in rule and/or standard here,” Lockhart said. “I would point you back to the video where I think Al explains his position on the rule quite clearly.”
Riveron definitely explained his position on the rule. But that doesn’t change the fact that the explanation seems inaccurate. And with no layer of public accountability above the guy who makes the decision, there will be no way to obtain real transparency on these issues, absent Riveron deciding to admit that he made a mistake.
In this case, he made a mistake. And the league should admit it. Blindly circling the wagons and peddling alternative facts, as we’ve learned over the past year, doesn’t work.