Even if Riveron stays, changes must be made

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The league’s quasi-announcement that Al Riveron will return as senior V.P. of officiating doesn’t mean that changes won’t be made in 2018. Undoubtedly, they need to be made.

To his credit, Riveron seems to be applying more consistently the “clear and obvious evidence” standard for overturning rulings on the field via replay review. For example, during the regular season, Riveron may have opted based on a frame-by-frame review of the Dion Lewis/Myles Jack play to conclude that Lewis secured possession of the ball by pinning it to his hip with his forearm, making him down by contact before the ball eventually popped out and was recovered by Jack. Riveron instead applied the high “clear and obvious” bar, finding that the ruling on the field of a fumble by Lewis was the correct one.

But the job entails much more than running the replay-review process. As noted recently, Riveron’s role carries with it an important P.R. function. But he has become largely invisible, creating a vacuum that has been filled by two of his predecessors — FOX’s Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino — who have become the most credible voices regarding the credibility of the league’s critical officiating function.

Either Riveron needs to be saying more in 2018, or the league needs to hire someone who will be. That doesn’t mean Riveron should be replaced as the head of officiating; however, the league would benefit from a clear, persistent, and persuasive voice who relishes the chance to spread the gospel of NFL officiating, and to acknowledge errors and flaws when common sense and fairness require that approach.

18 responses to “Even if Riveron stays, changes must be made

  1. 2017-2018 NFL Season Officiating Ineptitude Power Rankings

    5. Jerome Bogar
    4. Jeff Triplette
    3. Pete Morelli
    2. Any 2012 NFL Replacement Referee
    1. Al Riveron

  2. Agreed. Replay was a disaster this year, both in terms of decisions and then how they were explained (??) afterwards.

  3. Here’s a suggestion:

    Teams have play clocks: 25 seconds to get the next play off.

    Refs have review clocks: 90 seconds to overturn a ruling or it stands.

    You could even use the same clocks in the stadiums.

  4. upperdecker19 says:

    2017-2018 NFL Season Officiating Ineptitude Power Rankings

    5. Jerome Bogar
    4. Jeff Triplette
    3. Pete Morelli
    2. Any 2012 NFL Replacement Referee
    1. Al Riveron
    =======================================
    1.1 Sarah Thomas

  5. What makes sense to me is that NY made a unilateral decision to “right the wrong” of what many thought was a fast whistle. Instead of giving the ball to NE, which would have been the right call since historically, documentably, visibly many other players have been deemed in possession by pinning a ball to part of their body with one hand, they gave it to jax to stem off a tsunami of outrage. But honestly, I thought it was a fumble until I was able to super slomo the tv’s slomo and easily see that, unlike JSS, the stitches don’t move relative to the hand when Lewis is down. But I also understand why they gave it to JAX. It’s called damage control. Sadly for jax, they did nothing with the gift.

  6. Serious question… If the NFL decides to go with Full-Time Officials, what do they do the other 348 days of the year when they’re not calling a game?

  7. Can we also make it a rule that Tony Romo needs to stop questioning every single pass catch? If it were up to him seemingly every single play would need review

  8. 1967forever says:

    January 24, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Here’s a suggestion:

    Teams have play clocks: 25 seconds to get the next play off.

    Refs have review clocks: 90 seconds to overturn a ruling or it stands.

    You could even use the same clocks in the stadiums.
    _________________________________________________________

    I wouldn’t even give them 90 seconds, regardless there will be a huge uproar when the 90 second clock expires on an obvious screw up and doesn’t get overturned because the refs took too long

  9. Super Bowl LII Patriots vs Eagles: Gene Steratore assigned as referee. He was born, raised and lives in Pennsylvania. Patriots are gonna need Riveron more than ever.

  10. ackattack22 says:
    January 24, 2018 at 12:49 pm
    Serious question… If the NFL decides to go with Full-Time Officials, what do they do the other 348 days of the year when they’re not calling a game?
    ________________

    Study, so they actually understand the rules.

  11. Riveron was wrong not to overturn the Lewis fumble. It was as clear as day that Lewis’ knee was down with the ball against his hip. It wasn’t until his torso hit the ground that Jack was able to take the ball from Lewis. But after the grief he took in ruling correctly that the Steelers James lost control of the ball and therefor no TD, there was no way he was going to overturn the call on the field in this case. Now the big outcry is that it was a fast whistle and the Jags should be awarded post-game a TD when it’s most likely the Refs didn’t even know Jacks ended up with the ball until after the play was over. Patriot haters are consumed with an unhealthy obsession of every little thing that happens with them and sees conspiracies everywhere when the most reasonable explanation is the simplest. If NFL replay office isn’t going to overturn obvious wrong calls made on the field then why not just leave it in the on-field referee to make the call.

  12. Lemmy Aksyadis says:
    January 24, 2018 at 12:29 pm
    What makes sense to me is that NY made a unilateral decision to “right the wrong” of what many thought was a fast whistle. Instead of giving the ball to NE, which would have been the right call since historically, documentably, visibly many other players have been deemed in possession by pinning a ball to part of their body with one hand, they gave it to jax to stem off a tsunami of outrage. But honestly, I thought it was a fumble until I was able to super slomo the tv’s slomo and easily see that, unlike JSS, the stitches don’t move relative to the hand when Lewis is down. But I also understand why they gave it to JAX. It’s called damage control. Sadly for jax, they did nothing with the gift.
    ——————————————————–
    The fast whistle BS didn’t come about until the Jags lost the game. There are some people claiming that the DPI penalty against Ramsey, when he wraps his arm around Cooks neck, shouldn’t have been called, because the Pats shouldn’t win so much, I guess. Also, if it wasn’t a fumble as you say why the need for a make up call? They should be calling them as they see them not trying to pacify these conspiracy theories from fanbases with losing teams. I just re-watched the play and Lewis’ left knee is down before the ball comes lose and is still in his gut not on his hip. The ball moved a little bit before his knee touched but the ball wasn’t loose. Should have been ruled no fumble on replay.

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