At a time when NFL officials seems to be blowing more calls than a stuttering telemarketer, the league is taking an unprecedented step to get the most out of their men in black. And white.
Jay Glazer of FOX reports that the NFL will be conducting a “rare — if not unprecedented” conference call with all game officials, which will be aimed at encouraging them to do a better job when it comes to getting calls right.
Usually, such calls involve only the referees. This specific call, which will happen Friday, will include every member of every crew.
As we observed via Twitter during Monday night’s Giants-Cowboys game, it seems that a lot of mistakes have been made by officials as to events occurring right in front of them. The biggest blunder of the weekend came when officials determined that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had scored a touchdown, when replays showed he had fumbled. Application of the replay rules, though done accurately by referee Gene Steratore, created a sense that the Fins had been screwed.
Sunday night’s on-field decision that Vikings receiver Percy Harvin had caught what would have been a game-winning touchdown pass came from an official who was looking down at Harvin’s feet as one of them clearly landed out of bounds. Though the call was corrected via replay review, the “oh my heavens!” moment followed by a “what the hell?” realization surely made it harder to refocus on having to try to do it all again.
And then there was referee Scott Green’s boneheaded reversal via replay review of Visanthe Shiancoe’s touchdown reception in the same game. Though the explanation from NFL V.P. of officiating Carl Johnson left us even more confused about the rule, the fact remains that the league office believes Green screwed up.
While the conference call may not quite be an Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross moment, perhaps it should be. NFL officials are graded after each game, and they’re held accountable for their mistakes.
But what of the ultimate accountability? How many officials actually are fired for repeated mistakes?
The correct answer may be “not enough.”