NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defended the league’s officials today, but he did acknowledge that the league’s rulebook could be streamlined.
Goodell said at today’s owners’ meeting that potential improvements to officiating were discussed, and the league is exploring everything it can do to take the games out of the hands of the officials and make sure they’re decided by the players.
“That includes clarification of rules, that includes simplifying, where we can, our rules,” Goodell said.
That would be a good first step. Another step would be having an official in the booth, watching the game on a high-definition monitor, with the ability to communicate instantly with the officials on the field. Goodell hinted that that could be a possibility.
“Are there ways we can use technology effectively in our game?” Goodell said. “Technology is changing, it’s giving us an opportunity to see things we never saw before, and we need to make sure our officials have access to that.”
Still, Goodell insists that the officials generally do their jobs well.
“I think our officials do an extraordinary job,” Goodell said. “I think what we see now is through technology we see things we could never see before. But I think what it does is it validates the quality of our officiating. We all recognize that officials are going to make mistakes. What we need to do is try to avoid those mistakes as much as possible, train them differently, improve the quality of officiating and use technology to help them when a mistake does occur.”
Unfortunately, some mistakes have occurred, including some high-profile mistakes in big games. Even if the NFL thinks the officials are doing a good job now, they need to do better.