NFL officials have been making mistakes during games ever since the league was founded. In 2015, many of the mistakes have become glaring because millions of fans can witness those mistakes in real time — through multiple angles, in slow motion, and in crisp, stunning high definition.
As a result, a disconnect has emerged between everyone who have seen a given play on TV and the seven folks wearing black and white stripes who haven’t. And the NFL needs to find a way to eliminate that disconnect.
To his credit, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seems to be willing to do that.
“The technology is so extraordinary and we’re seeing things we never saw before,” Goodell told Bob Papa and Shannon Sharpe of SiriusXM NFL Radio. “We have to understand that and recognize that. You all as broadcasters or the fans in general get to see things, and we have to make sure our officials have access to that kind of technology in a way that’s not overly disruptive to our game, so that they can get the same type of input when they’re making decisions and avoid those critical errors.”
Perhaps more importantly, Goodell seems to be willing to do something sooner rather than later.
“We need to have that technology there and access to that to help them avoid those critical errors that can be decisive in a game,” Goodell said. “And we’re looking at that even in the context of this year’s postseason. We’re looking at that how we can do that on a more regular basis.”
That’s a tremendously significant comment from Goodell, especially since the NFL rarely makes changes within the confines of a given season. And while it’s unclear what the NFL would do to better incorporate technology into the officiating, the willingness of the NFL to consider doing anything shows that the league realizes that: (1) there is a disconnect between the fans and the officials; and (2) that disconnect can do significant, lasting damage to public confidence in the game of professional football.
PFT has asked the league for elaboration on how that may happen. The league has not yet responded. At some point, we’ll post a proposal for fixing the process before a major mistake potentially decides the outcome of a playoff game.