League acknowledges officiating changes are being considered for postseason

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On Friday morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hinted that the league may use increased technology to support the officiating function during the 2015 postseason. The NFL has separately confirmed that improvements are possible.

“There are some items under consideration,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email. “Not able to get into specifics.”

Expanded use of the formal replay process isn’t the answer. The NFL needs to use replay not as a stand-alone second look but as part of the first look, with either the league office or a dedicated member of the officiating crew using the available video angles to correct mistakes in real time, contacting the referee through the communication device the league now uses to tell the referee when an error has occurred.

PFT recently reported that the NFL is considering providing assistance to the officials in stand-alone games, fixing obvious administrative mistakes that folks in the league office notice unrelated to the actual making of calls during games. NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino recently explained during a visit to PFT Live the concerns regarding the potential use of an in-game video official.

“The idea of a video official has come up,” Blandino said. “I think there’s certainly merit to having the ability to look at something quickly and helping the official on the field. . . . You get those angles that the official on the field doesn’t get. So all of that will be on the table. We also have to be mindful of the officials on the field. We need to empower them and they need to feel empowered to make decisions without somebody over their shoulder constantly reviewing their work immediately and possibly changing it. And I know the goal is to get it right and we understand that, but we also have to empower our officials to make decisions and not worry about somebody looking over their shoulder in every situation.”

If the video official is a member of the crew, however, no one will be looking over anyone’s shoulder. They’ll be collaborating in the same way they do when officials confer on the field.

Besides, who cares if someone is looking over someone else’s shoulder? When the goal is to get it right, there’s no time for tiptoeing on eggshells around an official who doesn’t like being second-guessed. If an official doesn’t want to be second-guessed, the official shouldn’t make mistakes.

And if the official truly cares about the job, the official should welcome any device that will help ensure that every call is the right call.

66 responses to “League acknowledges officiating changes are being considered for postseason

  1. I’ll go ahead and put this in the “Oh yeah, we’re totally going to monitor ball pressures, you watch” file.

  2. Wait why are they saying they might consider making changes while at the same time releasing information from Dean Blandino saying refs have done a better job this year than in the past, and arguing that the clear calls the fans and media have observed this season, have actually been called correctly?

    I mean we all know why, but how on earth can the league office be so out of touch and mismanaged. Do the employees even talk to each other or have weekly conference calls?

  3. 1) Fire Jerome Boger.
    2) Fire Ed Hochuli.
    3) Fire Dean Blandino.

    There, you just improved the officiating by about 35%, at least.

  4. Damn, and I thought they just HAD officiating changes in the off-season, too.

    No more helium for me…

  5. Im all for the replay being done completely in the booth because its faster. But they should still stick with a challenge system, maybe just give them one more.

    I dont want the game stopped for some 5 minute deliberation on a 5 yard catch in the 1st quarter that neither team really even cares about

  6. I envision the day, relatively soon, when instead of the media calling out the referees for their terrible calls they will be calling out the cameramen for their terrible angles, and dirty lenses.

  7. bigbenh8tr says:
    Dec 11, 2015 3:59 PM
    Wait why are they saying they might consider making changes while at the same time releasing information from Dean Blandino saying refs have done a better job this year than in the past, and arguing that the clear calls the fans and media have observed this season, have actually been called correctly?

    I mean we all know why, but how on earth can the league office be so out of touch and mismanaged. Do the employees even talk to each other or have weekly conference calls?

    I guess he’s referring to the fact that calls have been overturned this year since this was a “point of emphasis” in the offseason….kind of like being in school and grading your own paper when you’re failing.

  8. Hey, just have the refs carry surface pros while on the field to help them instantly get replays of one teams’ plays…of course, they wont work for the other teams’ replays. They work so well now, for teams to get plays etc. What could go wrong?
    It’s just a matter of making sure they work for the team, that is supposed to win…

  9. The replay system is much more quick and efficient in the college game. Not sure what’s taking the NFL so long to get it’s act together when there is already a model available to mimic.

  10. Honest question: what makes anyone think a realtime, “first look” replay system can be implemented in a way that (a) doesn’t lead to confusion/miscommunication between the booth and the officials on the field or (b) slow down the game even further?

  11. Between Goodell and the ref in that photo, I’d like to know which one started the bro handshake?
    If it’s the ref, fine.
    If it’s Goodell then he is stereotyping.

  12. For the love Pete, just copy the NHL’s model and use a “war room” where you can have multiple experts reviewing in real time.

  13. I just thought it was hilarious that Blandino was defending the missed call that saved the packers last week as one “that’s made every time” and then we had back to back possessions with blatant facemasks on QB’s last night without a call. I think what Dean meant was “called every time when it’s done to Rodgers or Brady”

    NFL officiating is a joke

  14. When you consider the speed of the play and the split second time an official has to make the call I’m amazed that they’re as accurate as they are. Overall it’s good.

  15. If the NFL takes away Thursday night games and Breakfast football from London, people would watch about 20 less games in aseason, then the officiating wouldn’t be AS glaring because most people wouldn’t see St. Loius vs. TB or Tennesee vs. Jax

  16. meh, all they need to do is be more fluid with how they play tv ads. They already bombard us with them at specific points of the game. If a play requires a replay delay to get it right just show ads while they sort it out and subtract those ads from the prescheduled time slots.

  17. southsidesteve86 says:
    Dec 11, 2015 4:23 PM
    The replay system is much more quick and efficient in the college game. Not sure what’s taking the NFL so long to get it’s act together when there is already a model available to mimic.
    ————————————————————————
    Probably because this is a professional game and they want to make themselves look bigger and better than a system full of amateur players.

    The college football OT makes a lot more sense and is better but god forbid for the NFL to have one that even comes close to it!

  18. Why would officials worry about being looked at over their shoulder? If the official’s objective is to call a fair, unbiased game, then they should welcome any help they can get. If the objective is to make some extra cash under the table, then ya, I could understand worrying about it.

  19. Can’t believe a thing Goodell says. And if he and his clowns try something new, it’s guaranteed to be a debacle. So that’s what the NFL is until Goodell and his minions are all replaced.

  20. 1) Fire Jerome Boger.
    2) Fire Ed Hochuli.
    3) Fire Dean Blandino.

    There, you just improved the officiating by about 35%, at least.

    —————————-

    How you didn’t include Triplett at #1 is beyond me.

  21. Roger, please use replacement officials for the playoffs. Watching a false start penalty getting declined in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl will be the ultimate culmination of the progress that this league has made since you became commissioner.

  22. The league will most certainly get it wrong again. The problem is the NFL has been taken over by lawyers haha go figure. Every now and then there a real game but overall its becoming more and more unwatchable. To many reasons to list.
    Packers are a joke BTW

  23. “If an official doesn’t want to be second-guessed, the official shouldn’t make mistakes.”

    The officials are human you know, humans never always get it right. We have been clearly spoiled by technology. It;s so much easier to second guess someone after the fact.

  24. It’s hard for the refs because there are 30 million people watching the game with HD Slow Mo PVR who can watch every play from every angle to determine their every mistake..

    I’m not saying I like the way the game is officiated, but i can certainly appreciate just how hard a ref’s job is when half the world thinks you’re wrong every time you make a call.

  25. Also, if you want to empower them and make them confident and happy, give them a job. Don’t make it this part time crap. Make officials full time employees and let them make a career out of it. 9 billion dollar business (at least now) shouldn’t have the officiating handled by part timers who have to go home and work a regular job. They should be able to dedicate themselves to footaball like players and coaches.

  26. @ bunglesandbears

    So why not give the officials access to HD Slow Mo PVR so they can get plays right when challenged. Yet another reason why Belichick is right, teams should be allowed to challenge everything. And no it wouldn’t slow down the game at all, cause teams would still only have 3 challenges. It would help eliminate game deciding bad calls. What’s wrong with that?

  27. Blandino says: “And I know the goal is to get it right …but we also have to empower our officials to make decisions …”

    I would argue that “getting it right” outweighs how the official feels. We don’t need officials “making decisions” that change the outcome of the games. There’s a rule book for a reason. When you have a case in which NO ONE knows the rule, like the batted ball scenario in the Lions/Seahawks game, you need a rules aficionado looking over the video who can call down to the field and say, “give it back to the Lions on the one yard line.”

    Fair is fair. Who gives a damn how the officials “feel”?

  28. Can the video official be able to differentiate between a clean sack and a Roughing the passer? Just asking…. NFL officiating has become like a Las Vegas Slot machine. Teams has to just take changes and gamble the hard work away. Bunch of Jokers..

  29. bunglesandbears says:
    Dec 11, 2015 5:02 PM
    It’s hard for the refs because there are 30 million people watching the game with HD Slow Mo PVR who can watch every play from every angle to determine their every mistake..

    I’m not saying I like the way the game is officiated, but i can certainly appreciate just how hard a ref’s job is when half the world thinks you’re wrong every time you make a call.
    —————–
    You are right….but; what about all the time when the whole room full of people you’re watching with are all yelling at the refs on tv before the HD slow mo PVR…and they’re right, the refs are wrong. It happens all the time. Very obvious fouls are called or not called in every game.

  30. 1) Fire Jerome Boger.
    2) Fire Ed Hochuli.
    3) Fire Dean Blandino.

    There, you just improved the officiating by about 35%, at least.

    —————————-

    How you didn’t include Triplett at #1 is beyond me.

    Don’t forget Pete Morelli his crew was responsible for 2 outrageous calls that loom large right now (Detroit/ Seattle and Az/SF games)

  31. I don’t care what they do, I’ll still hate it. I don’t care what they say, I won’t believe it. I don’t care if they try, it won’t work. They are always against my team when it loses. Damn minions!

  32. Morelli and his entire crew need to be fired, not reassigned to games. But of course he has the new female ref, something PFT is keeping silent about.

  33. the league may use increased technology to support the officiating function during the 2015 postseason.

    Refbotron 5000

  34. The college system works better because they don’t have 3 minutes of commercials on every replay, but I guess Blandino has to approve every one. Also every stadium has a jumbotron that has the replay capacities the NFL needs.

  35. “We need to empower them and they need to feel empowered”

    Ummm this is one of the reason’s why these changes need to be made. Absolute power leads to corruption.

  36. thekingcoleman says:
    Dec 11, 2015 4:46 PM

    “If an official doesn’t want to be second-guessed, the official shouldn’t make mistakes.”

    The officials are human you know, humans never always get it right. We have been clearly spoiled by technology. It;s so much easier to second guess someone after the fact.
    ———————————————————-
    I’m not so sure I agree. Many times this season replay has been interpreted incorrectly according to the so called experts in the TV booths. If indisputable means what I think it does and a call can go either way then why not stick to the letter of the law and let the call on the field stand? Nothing frustrates me more than watching a replay and everyone in the booth along with myself seeing the play one way then having the ref see it exactly the opposite. Those are the times I question the integrity of the game. Especially now that decisions are made by smucks in the league office.

  37. Sooooooo why not just make the eye in the sky replay ref the head? Make him a full time employee, dedicated to the craft. Give him final say. And maybe the NFL could tie a rider to their network contracts with bonuses or penalties for the camerawork and sound quality. Elevate the quality of the product at this level of popularity and the coffers will overflow…

  38. Looks like damage control is in full swing … Fans are starting to realize that the NFL is actually controlling the out come of the games.

  39. “There are some items under consideration,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email. “Not able to get into specifics.
    ————————————-

    Brian McCarthy? Any relationship to the Green Bay Refeeres coach Mike McCarthy?

    Sheez. The NFL doesn’t even try to hide their sham.

  40. The only thing the league and the fans are concerned with is 1 thing. Goodell and the league can screw up all they want and they will get a free pass as long as they find a way stop the Patriot’s from winning. Everybody hates Goodell until he makes something up to attack the Patriot’s and he becomes an instant hero. He never proved deflategate and the fans ate up the destroyed phone excuse. The fans of 31 teams get what they deserve for backing Goodell. He only cares about the money the league makes and he uses made up attack’s on the Patriot’s to keep fans of 31 teams on his side. If you don’t believe me, why won’t the NFL disclose the impact of the weather on football pressure which was the cause of the Patriot’s and COLTS (conveniently ignored) footballs to be below the legal PSI! Blandino used the bogus Gronkowski penalties as being valid to cover his butt and you eat it up because Gronk is a Patriot. When will fans wake up and realize what a FRAUD Goodell is. If you don’t believe me, click on my world press name to read more.

  41. Marshawn Lunch says:
    Dec 11, 2015 5:43 PM

    Blandino says: “And I know the goal is to get it right …but we also have to empower our officials to make decisions …”

    I would argue that “getting it right” outweighs how the official feels. We don’t need officials “making decisions” that change the outcome of the games. There’s a rule book for a reason. When you have a case in which NO ONE knows the rule, like the batted ball scenario in the Lions/Seahawks game, you need a rules
    aficionado looking over the video who can call down to the field and say, “give it back to the Lions on the one yard line.”

    Fair is fair. Who gives a damn how the officials “feel”?
    —————————————-
    Only hire officials that only feel good when they get it right. If an official feels good about blowing a call, he’s/she’s in the wrong business.

  42. What’s killing the game more than anything is the disgusting penalties. The Ticky tack calls over nothing. The constant stoppage of play, and the worse thing of all, the phantom calls where there is nothing happening. Truly the game, I hate to say it, but if they don’t let the players play the game, the greatest game on the face of the earth will go by way of the Dodo. Sad but true. Let the men play a mans game or let them play lingerie football.

  43. I couldn’t help but notice how enjoyable last night’s game was when the refs are not involved. Just let the players play unless it is blatantly obvious. A ref missing something that we can identify is slo mo is ok. The game is fast. But a ref calling something that isn’t supported by slo mo is a problem.

    Just let them play and we won’t even notice you.

  44. packmanfan says:
    Dec 11, 2015 4:30 PM
    Between Goodell and the ref in that photo, I’d like to know which one started the bro handshake?
    If it’s the ref, fine.
    If it’s Goodell then he is stereotyping.
    ==============================
    Not a bro handshake. Goodell is passing on an incentive to ensure OPI is called on the Patriots.

  45. southsidesteve86 says:
    Dec 11, 2015 4:23 PM
    The replay system is much more quick and efficient in the college game. Not sure what’s taking the NFL so long to get it’s act together when there is already a model available to mimic.
    ===========================
    Advertising revenue. The review has to take as long as it takes to air the required two or three “review time” advertisements.

  46. Full-time officials. Well compensated positions with great retirement benefits. This way the refs will really have something to lose if they perform poorly. Some real skin in the game. Training year round will ensure every single one of them knows every rule and every nuance of the game. Enough with these part-time refs who are full-time gynecologists, business owners and accountants.

  47. senatorblutarsky says:
    Dec 12, 2015 10:20 AM
    Full-time officials. Well compensated positions with great retirement benefits. This way the refs will really have something to lose if they perform poorly. Some real skin in the game. Training year round will ensure every single one of them knows every rule and every nuance of the game. Enough with these part-time refs who are full-time gynecologists, business owners and accountants.
    ===============================
    The senator is so full of hot air he could solve the weather induced football pressure drop issue just by being in attendance at cold weather games.
    But in this one case, he is right. Now why don’t you just whisper that suggestion into your brother Roger’s ear, senator. Especially the training year round part. That should start immediately.

  48. Here’s the thing. Everyone seems to be under the impression that the league wanted the officials to become full time at the same pay they are currently being paid. That’s not true. The officials would have been paid accordingly. However, many of them would have had to give up their weekday jobs and that would have been a source of income lost. But, there is a solution. The league should still go to full time officials, with a very strict qualification standard. Many of these officials would never pass a psych eval, or a true fitness test. And they should have to. Go full time, offer them a good wage, institute a true qualification standard, and if the current officials decided that they didn’t want to participate, oh well.

    Also, allow any play to be challenged by the coaches. Give them 2 challenges per half, with the possibility of increasing it to 3 if they get both challenges correct. Also, have a replay czar at each stadium capable of overruling any call on the field. If any crew is overruled more than 2 times per game, they should be subjected to a fine and/or suspension.

    And, get rid of any official who seems bent on calling ridiculous ticky tack calls like offensive pass interference on a player who goes out to block on a screen pass and makes contact a split second before the ball arrives to the receiver, or on an o lineman on the opposite side of the field from the play getting called for a hold. Fans yell about games being extended too long because of replay, but these awful phantom calls make games way longer than replay.

    Finally, fire Dean Blandino. He is completely unqualified for the job, and has turned NFL officiating into a class project on making a grown man reffing a game feel good about themselves, and every awful call is about twisting a definition to do that.

  49. It’s silly not to use the technology to fixed mistakes and missed calls. I don’t care if it is a missed hold on a punt return for a TD or a PI that turns into an INT.

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