Moving the umpire out of the “box” area may not be the only change the NFL makes to its officiating procedures.
Per the Associated Press, the league will experiment with the use of an eighth official during the preseason.
A “deep judge” was used during Friday night’s game between the Falcons and the Dolphins. An extra official also was scheduled for Saturday night’s games between the Ravens and the Giants and the Bengals and Bills. On Thursday, when all 32 teams wrap up the preseason by playing on the same night, eight officials will be used when the Bengals face the Colts.
The fact that the league is using eight officials on an experimental basis suggests that one or more folks with influence believe an extra official is needed — and that enough people agreed to at least give it a try.