NFL to experiment with on-field replay/shameless marketing tool

Getty Images

Since they can’t turn most preseason games into watchable football, the NFL is at least willing to use them as petri dishes.

The league announced that during four of this week’s exhibition games, and six more later in the preseason that they will test the use of Microsoft Surface tablet computers for the purpose of replay.

“The goal of experimenting with the tablets is to be more efficient in administering replay reviews,”  NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said. “We would like to determine if we can streamline the process.”

The league tried this at last year’s Pro Bowl (where there should be no replay whatsoever) as well.

In theory, it saves the few moments it takes the official to walk all the way over to the sidelines to view the same replay in their special hooded monitor of mystery.

Then again, this also presumes the tablet steward (we totally made that title up, the NFL would have Capitalized It) walks more quickly than the referee does to save time. If not, this is just a thinly veiled marketing ploy designed as a progressive leap forward in administering on-field justice.

The more we think about this, yeah it’s just product placement, and it’s kind of shameless and the sort of thing the league is best at.

They are also going to experiment with an eighth official on the field in 13 of this weekend’s games, and that might actually do some good. The “center judge” and the “U2” will be able to focus on different areas of the field, lined up either 20 yards downfield from the line of scrimmage or behind the offensive backfield.

And their utility will likely be based on how often they collide with players during the game, and whether the backs of their jerseys will feature an ad for an insurance company.

21 responses to “NFL to experiment with on-field replay/shameless marketing tool

  1. I have a solution for FAST instant replay.

    Give every official a tablet to wear on their belt to watch replays of exactly what the head ref would see under the hood. Give them 30 seconds to look. After 30 secs, they all click an option “reverse” or “uphold.” If the decision is not unanimous to overturn, the call on the field is upheld. That’s the way it’s supposed to be anyway. 100% uncontrovertible.

    This solution would have replays looked at in under a minute.

    You’re welcome NFL and fans.

  2. Have you ever watched a rugby telecast? They use the same technology (I think) that puts that nice yellow line on the field to put virtual billboards all over the field. It is horribly distracting, but if the NFL ever catches on they will surely embrace that revenue source also…

  3. Good move. It’s an experiment in technology during meaningless preseason games.

    You cant call for more technology and pile onto the NFL at the same time when they actually do something.

  4. justintuckrule says:

    I have a solution for FAST instant replay.

    Give every official a tablet to wear on their belt to watch replays of exactly what the head ref would see under the hood.


    Given how often mikes fail now, how long do you think it will be before these go on the fritz. And it only takes one for the system to break down,

  5. Let’s get a bunch of tablets that we may or may not use, just don’t buy cameras for the goal line because, you know… That would be too expensive.

  6. Why not just have 3 officials in the booth that watch the replays and then vote on what the call should be.

    Within 2 minutes they have booth officials pretty much taking care of replay, why not the whole game if its faster?

    I dont care what the ref actually saw, if it wasnt caught on camera no one will trust him anyway – Whatever is on camera that millions will see is what should decide things.

  7. Why don’t we get the monitor of mystery views streamed to the broadcast booth for fans to watch? It ain’t difficult folks – Arena does that. They even let the viewer hear the official’s conversation asking for more views. Why be so secretive?

  8. Vikings and Redskins games will be grandfathered since nobody wants to re watch any portion of those ever.

  9. If you don’t like the NFL don’t watch it. Hundreds of other channels and streaming services are available.

  10. logicalvoicepft says:
    Aug 18, 2015 12:43 PM

    Belicheat has already found a glitch to exploit. #ZeroLegitSuperbowls

    You’re a Redskins fan. You don’t get to make fun of other teams, except maybe the Jets.

  11. Replay is a farce. Didn’t realize until the officials were locked out that the people in the replay booth aren’t refs. They’re league employees.

    Now they’ve centralized all replay to NYC and taken it out of the stadiums. The league can now control any outcome and the networks hire ex-officials to tell you how they got it right even if your eyes tell you otherwise.

    So much for the integrity of the game but we at least have ‘Deflategate’ to protect it.

  12. How about dedicating one camera out of the 800 in the stadium for an actual goal line cam? I can’t believe that after all these years the NFL can’t figure that one out.

  13. Hopefully the new ref will be able to see all the holding the Cowboys lineman do and call it!

  14. Speaking of what is happening in the preseason that will reflect on the season, what do the air pressure reading taken during the games last week reveal?

    Or is the NFL hiding this because it will reflect on what the judge may rule this week? For instance, what happens to the air pressure in a football after it is kicked several times. Because, in theory, the more it is kicked, the softer it gets. The softer it gets, the more the football expands. The more the football expands, the lower the air pressure. (Or, heck, maybe just kicking it real hard forces air out, thus reducing air pressure.)

    Please note that this is not a result of the ideal gas law. This is a result of air pressure in a confined space. A fixed amount of air in a slightly larger space will have less air pressure.

    Regardless of all that, what are the preseason air pressure readings revealing?

  15. Play reviews have taken a really long time during meaningless preseason games. And over calls that will have nothing to do with the game’s end result. Most of the calls when replayed on TV, appear to be a fairly obvious ruling too.

    Anything that would speed up the process would be welcomed. It’s impacting the games in a negative way.

  16. Wonder how they will handle the frequency of crashes and bugs that infest a typical Microsoft product? “Was it a first down or not? ” ” we will find out after this commercial break while the officials reboot the tablet.”

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.