The first question that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fielded during his pre-Super Bowl press conference in Minnesota on Wednesday had to do with officiating, including the way replay is used in the league right now.
Goodell noted that technology allowing plays to be broken down at a microscopic level has made the job harder for officials, who he said do an “extraordinary” job. Goodell did express concern about the amount of times that replay is being used and the way games grind to a stop when they happen.
“We did have more replay interruptions this year,” Goodell said. “I think that’s something we have to look at, we can improve on. … You know we spent a great deal of time in the offseason on game presentation. How do we make our game more attractive? Less stoppages, shorter stoppages when they do occur whether they’re commercial or otherwise. I think that’s one of the things we’re going to focus on how do we do the replay in a way that will ensure correcting an obvious mistake but make sure it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game.”
Goodell didn’t outline any potential shifts in replay policy, although an obvious one would seem to be a time limit on reviews that calls for on-field decisions to stand if no glaring error is found in short order. There were several cases last season when people expressed a belief that replay procedures under first-year officiating head Al Riveron had moved away from looking for clear and obvious evidence of those obvious mistakes to re-officiating the plays based on the video.
That seemed to swing back the other way during the postseason, which may be a sign of where the league wants things to go in Riveron’s second season on the job.