During Monday night’s game, the Eagles’ offense was forced to slow down its usually fast pace because, the referee announced, “the officials weren’t in position to officiate.” NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino says that’s just a fact of life for hurry-up offenses.
“All seven officials have to be in position to officiate the play,” Blandino said in a video distributed by the NFL. “We understand what the up-tempo offenses are doing, what the goal of that is, and our officials have worked to try to be efficient at spotting the football and getting into position. But when we have our line judge here, out in the field of play, we cannot allow the snap. This is dangerous for him, for the players, he can’t effectively officiate the play. So we shut it down and we basically have a do-over. The key is all seven officials have to be in position to officiate the play. We want our wing officials, our line of scrimmage officials, back near the sideline. They don’t have to be on the sideline set for five seconds, but they can’t be on the field of play. When we talk about the umpire and the referee, they’ve got to be
Blandino said the officials work hard at running down the field and getting into position quickly so that delays for the officials will be rare.
“You don’t see this very often. I think we’ve been very efficient in terms of spotting the football,” Blandino said. “We’re going to continue to work on this because we don’t want to prevent the offense, when they don’t substitute, from being able to get up and efficiently snap the football.”
Eagles coach Chip Kelly has said he’s not particularly concerned about having to wait for the officials. But it would be a shame if Kelly’s offense couldn’t take advantage of defenses not being ready because the officials weren’t ready.