With the replay-review function not consistently adhering to the “clear and obvious” evidence standard and with Saturday’s postseason-opening game not featuring the kind of officiating the league’s teams and fans deserve, the NFL has plenty of issues to address regarding one of its most important functions.
And the easiest solution when it comes to the current state of officiating could be to bring back former senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino.
There’s already talk in some league circles about a possible Blandino return in 2018. I recently joked with Blandino during a recent appearance on the PFT PM podcast regarding the possibility of returning for the postseason. He initially said he’s happy in his current job at FOX, but when pressed he said that it “depends on what the numbers are, what the finances look like.”
And it quickly became evidence that the numbers and finances had a role in Blandino’s decision to move on.
“I think that there was a sense of, around the league office and some of the people in leadership positions, they didn’t value that position the way it should have been valued, and how important it is,” Blandino said. “During the season, other than the Commissioner, the head of officiating is probably the most public-facing person in the office. And those decisions that are made, I mean, these affect the outcome of games, and that’s your product on the field.
“So I do feel that the position was not valued to where it should have been. And, look, you always like to feel that you provided value, and I would never want someone to fail to make myself look better, but I do believe that they never valued that position where it should have been, and maybe it’s a wake-up call for some people around the league.”
The question is whether they’re sufficiently awake to turn the clock back to where it was before Blandino left. And whether Blandino would be willing (or able) to exit his current job to return to the one that had been crafted specifically for him, especially as it relates to the effort to ensure accuracy and consistency as it relates to where rulings on the field will be overturned by someone who is hundreds if not thousands of miles away.