Dean Blandino: I don’t see a diminished product because of rise in penalties

AP

With all the talk about an emphasis on illegal contact and defensive holding calls this offseason, most people expected a rise in the amount of penalties called in the regular season.

Those predictions have come true. There have already been more illegal contact penalties than there were all of last season and games are seeing an average of 17 penalties, up from 14.7 last year. That rise has led to complaints from fans and players, but the NFL’s head of officiating doesn’t think that has led to a negative change in the games themselves.

“I’m certainly not surprised that fouls are up. … We’re in a good place,” NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino said, via the Associated Press. “I don’t see a diminished product on the field.”

You wouldn’t expect someone from the league to say anything different and Blandino points out that games are running a few minutes shorter on average despite the increase in flags.

If there’s a threat to the product on the field, it is the lack of consistency from game to game and, sometimes, play to play about what is a penalty. Those issues predate this season, but recent complaints from the league’s officials about Blandino’s office applauding calls behind the scenes and then publicly failing to back the officials have brought them back into focus.

One reasonably easy fix would be extending replay review to cover all calls on the field, something that would allow officials to throw flags on borderline plays and then rescind them when replays show that the play didn’t cross the line. It might take a bit longer, but it would be worth it for the increased credibility of the officials and decreased impact on games.

37 responses to “Dean Blandino: I don’t see a diminished product because of rise in penalties

  1. Well we see it. Last week 4 penalties on 1 drive added up to 40 yards (2 x 15 yards and 2x 5 yards).

    If defensive holding is going to be so ticky tack, then stop giving the automatic 1st down.

  2. Deano Blandino offered up the positive aspect. The games take longer to play now, with all the delays, so viewers get more time to spend watching. For the same price.

  3. Just when we think there’s no one more tone deaf in the NFL than Roger Goodell, the League gives us Dean Blandino. What a tool.

  4. “I don’t see a diminished product on the field.” Blandino said before sticking his head back in the sand.

    This quote is just more proof of how Goodell and the other league suits are completely out of touch with the fans. What does it matter if you don’t see a problem when all the fans do? You know, the people who make you rich.

  5. it’s apparent he’s drank the kool-aid. what’s also apparent is the the NFL doesn’t plan on listening to their customers about what it is they want and how they feel about the topic. after every play, players and fans alike are looking around for a flag. can’t really celebrate after a big third down stop because chances are there is going to be an ‘illegal contact’ flag thrown and an automatic first down given. terrible way to watch a football game

  6. Yeah, it’s only the fans that think the product sucks.

    This guy and Goodell have to go. The flags are ruining the game. How many great plays are called back on BS penalties every week? This is not what we pay to watch. Every time our team does something good, we have to wait 5 seconds to see if there’s a flag before we can celebrate. What a joke. Even Peter King thinks the game is being damaged.

    Too many rules, too many bad calls, too many big plays erased.

  7. The illegal contact/defensive holding and hit on a defenseless receiver penalties are a way to artificially enhance scoring. I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s losing interest in football.

  8. Its gotten to the point where you can’t enjoy the live experience any more of the game because of the flags. After every big play you wait for the inevitable flag indicator to appear on the screen. Then wait for the offcial’s conference to end and then for them to tell you the big play didn’t count. Having 3 Percy Harvin TDs called back in one game was the clear example of what the NFL has become…UNWATCHABLE!

  9. When the refs are directly responsible for determining the outcome of multiple games each week with their atrocious officiating and their blown calls.. Something is wrong.

  10. “One reasonably easy fix would be extending replay review to cover all calls on the field”

    Worst idea ever. Most of the problematic calls this season are illegal contact/pass interference and those truly are judgment calls. They’d be impossible to reverse unless the replay showed absolutely zero contact took place at all. Most probably, the reviews and reversals would be as controversial if not more so than the original calls. Plus the flow of the game would be even more disrupted than currently.

    There are some calls that absolutely should be reviewable which aren’t currently, but you do not want a replay official spending 5 minutes trying to decide who was to blame for the hand-fighting between a db and receiver.

  11. What else is he going to say? Goodell, the owners and guys like this lie to themselves on a daily basis. Player and Fan voices are the least that matter to these people.

  12. BS, in the games I have seen, refs just ignore PI and IC, no change from previous years. The fact, that the refs are terrible is also unchanged.

  13. Putting aside the number of calls, there is inconsistancy in how the calls are made to the point where the players must be totally confused. Additionally, regardless of the impact on the length of the game, all these calls are breaking up the flow of the game. and to that extent, certainly are impacting the quality of the product. I watched a number of college games last weekend and although the quality of the players is not on par with the NFL, the games were much more enjoyable to watch.
    I understand that the purpose of many of these calls was to protect players, but I can’t for the life of me see how a touch on the back by a defender down the field in any way endangers the other player.

  14. Player safety should be a concern, and clean play that allows the game to be played properly should be encouraged.

    Penalties called in the secondary are incredibly arbitrary and subjective. Defensive pass interference is almost automatic now, if there’s the slightest bit of contact between players.

    But almost every kick return has an uncalled block to the back, and almost every play has an uncalled holding penalty around the line of scrimmage.

    17 penalties a game is too much. It kills the momentum and fun. Penalties should be called, but they should loosen things up a bit so that they’re not stepping all over the game.

  15. Blandino is a total idiot if he cannot see that an overabundance of penalties is a detraction to the game.
    The Commish needs to pull this little Hitler in line because his lust for more flags is going to spoil the game.

  16. Blandino – just the blind leading the blind.

    NFL officiating is atrocious.

  17. mogogo1 says:
    Oct 9, 2014 2:26 PM
    “One reasonably easy fix would be extending replay review to cover all calls on the field”

    Worst idea ever. Most of the problematic calls this season are illegal contact/pass interference and those truly are judgment calls. They’d be impossible to reverse unless the replay showed absolutely zero contact took place at all. Most probably, the reviews and reversals would be as controversial if not more so than the original calls. Plus the flow of the game would be even more disrupted than currently.

    There are some calls that absolutely should be reviewable which aren’t currently, but you do not want a replay official spending 5 minutes trying to decide who was to blame for the hand-fighting between a db and receiver.
    ============================

    Head coaches have 2 challenges per game, 3 if they successfully challenge 2 and get awarded a 3rd. Do you really think a coach is going to throw his red hanky on the field for an illegal contact penalty in the first quarter of a game??? I don’t. But it sure would be nice if that coach could challenge that call in the 4th quarter of a game, on a potential game deciding call that was clearly not correct.

    It does seem that sometimes the officials are trying to “help” one team with horrendous officiating, and it is even fun to point out, but that likely isn’t true and is simply a coincidence. I am of the opinion that officials can’t see everything, and like everyone else, sometimes they look at a set of events and simply assume what happened in between those events when they aren’t able to see the entire play. Officials can’t see through players. We even see it as fans on replays. We all know exactly what happened, but the camera view point is obstructed and the play stands as called. That is an example of how hard it is to see what happened when there are 22 players on the field. So if an official sees a lot contact but can’t see specifically what that contact is and throws a flag, having the ability to review that penalty in certain circumstances would be a positive in my opinion

  18. Does Blandino really think that an illegal contact call 6 yards beyond the line of scrimmage on a 3rd and 20 play deserves an automatic first down?

  19. The days of Penalties being called on their merits are long gone. Instead the NFL sees the rules as a way to shape narrative in order to maximize profits. Blandino is not a football fan or even an official. He is an engineer, but thinks of himself as some sort of benevolent football demi-god. All Hail Blandino and his mighty flags!

  20. I don’t know what the NFL’s motive is for flooding games with penalties this year, but I was at the New England-Cincinnati game Sunday night and that 2nd quarter got so bogged down with flags it was unreal. The fans in my section started counting down how many plays went by without flags. I’m a diehard fan since 1981 and football hasn’t been this unpleasant to watch since those boring Giants teams of the 80s 🙂

    Seriously though, when you get to the point where you are surprised that a flag hasn’t been thrown after a play and you scan the field with anxiety after your team makes a good play, something should probably be done to cut back on these flags as it is doing the the opposite of making the game enjoyable for the fans. Clean this stuff up!!

  21. I don’t want instant replay to micromanage the game; it should be for egregious errors.

  22. You may not see a problem with your guys getting all the extra facetime, Deano, but it sure starts a lot more channel hopping during NFL games here.

    Between the frustration of flags flying and many generally sucky national games to date (esp Thursdays) we’ve avoided watching a good portion of several games already this season – unheard of in years past.

    (and I still can’t name a single official – other than Ed Hocule).

  23. Sorry Dino, you’re wrong.

    I’m at the point now that I expect every long distance score to be called back. Every long return on a punt or kick as well. This is not good. I repeat, I now expect this. I have been a fan for more than 35 years. The NFL is truly eroding my desire to spend time watching with idiocy like this moron espouses over the last 5-7 years and what I see on the field.

  24. He has got be kidding. Go to a game and sit through all the time outs and replays, throw in the flags and every official on the field has to get in the act. Then try to see any flow in the game. So many rules that you use to get upset because there was a flag now you watch after every play to see if a yellow square with flag appears on the screen. The game is watered down and so they give the defense no rules so the scores will be 98-85 as if that was what football was about. A TD use to mean something today 9 TDS mean something.

  25. Dean Blandino: “We’re in a good place”

    Rofl, seriously? The game now isn’t “how many yards can a qb throw for” its “how can we manage the calls we know we will get if we do this to maintain our drives”.

  26. “Do you really think a coach is going to throw his red hanky on the field for an illegal contact penalty in the first quarter of a game???”

    Over a 50 yard pass interference call? Of course they would. But bigger picture is that you’re standing on a slippery slope. It’s unlikely they would expand replay to cover all calls without expanding the system in other ways, as well. First thing they’d look at is if there needed to be more challenges allowed, or if the booth would control replays for a larger chunk of the game than they do currently.

    It’d be inevitable that games would be slowed down even more and many of the calls could never be satisfactorily reviewed. The system would look better on paper, but in practice it’d be more cumbersome and would be liked even less than it is now.

  27. This guy is a fool, if it’s a stance taken by the NFL he’s going to back it. After listening to his explanation for the pass interference call on Gronkowski in the Patriot vs. Panthers game last year was enough for me.

  28. Time to make any play challengeable. Don’t increase the number of challenges; make the wrong call structure the same, but make calls like P/I, Horse collar, etc. etc.

    MLB replays have shown how often the umps maker the wrong call, looking right at it!

    The refs are wrong on their calls probably 20-25% of the time. Teams should have the right to challenge their calls!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.