The NFL has fired some of its worst officials.
Although NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino wasn’t quite that blunt in confirming it today, Blandino said “we moved on from” some officials who weren’t up to snuff.
“If an official isn’t performing up to the standards then they won’t be in the NFL,” Blandino said.
Blandino declined to name the officials who won’t be back, but those names are expected to become public soon.
“I won’t get into specific names. We are going to publish the roster toward the end of the month so you can look at the roster and probably figure it out,” Blandino said.
Asked how the NFL determined which officials won’t be back, Blandino said the officials are closely tracked, and if they’re consistently near the bottom of the league in their grades, they won’t be retained.
“Any official, in any competitive arena, could have a poor season, so one season may not necessarily cause us to terminate an official,” Blandino said. “But if it becomes a trend, multiple seasons, we have a tier-based ranking system, the third tier being the lowest performers. Once they enter Tier 3 we put them in an enhanced training regimen and put them in that program, and if we still don’t see improvement, that’s when we move on.”
Blandino said officials are assessed on decision making, the calls they make and calls they should have made but didn’t, as well as physical fitness and the ability to keep up with the fast pace of play in the NFL.
The league also terminated several officials last year, and Blandino said the NFL’s officiating improved.
“I think we saw that officiating was better not just because of the turnover, I think it’s overall the differences in terms of what we’re doing from the training perspective,” Blandino said. “The scrutiny is so high at this point, we really are asking more of them.”
That’s as it should be. NFL players and coaches routinely get fired if they don’t perform well enough. Officials are no different.