New postseason officiating procedures won’t be adopted for the 2016 regular season

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With the NFL adjusting the officiating procedures for the 2015 postseason, the question becomes whether those changes will become a permanent fixture for the NFL as of the 2016 regular season.

Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL will not be implementing the new protocol for the 2016 regular season. However, it’s expected that the owners will approve in March the continued use of the new system for all postseason play, in 2016 and beyond.

Earlier this week, the Competition Committee recommended unanimously for the 2015 playoffs the expanded use of the communication system previously installed to allow the league office to assist the referee during replay review. Starting in the wild-card round, NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino will be able to assist referees with administrative issues relating to three key areas: (1) proper down and distance; (2) penalty enforcement; and (3) game-clock issues. That process won’t be adopted for use during the regular season because it will be difficult if not impossible to properly oversee the various administrative issues arising in the many games that begin at 1:00 p.m. ET and 4:05 p.m. ET/4:25 p.m. ET — without expanding the responsibilities well beyond Blandino and his primary lieutenant for these issues, former NFL on-field official Al Riveron.

The league considered exploring the expanded use of the pipeline from the league office for regular-season stand-alone games only, but the concern is that extra attention given to, for example, prime-time games would create a competitive disadvantage with respect to the teams playing during the Sunday afternoon time slots.

That said, the pipeline could be used, from time to time, to correct administrative errors during regular-season games. As one source explained it to PFT, the league sought formal permission to utilize the communication system for administrative assistance in part because the league office periodically had been using it for that purpose, discreetly and without express authorization.

To summarize, the unauthorized use of the communication system to address administrative errors during regular-season games has resulted in the authorized use of the communication system to address administrative errors in postseason games. And that will make the unauthorized use of the communication system to address administrative errors in future regular-season games more likely.

10 responses to “New postseason officiating procedures won’t be adopted for the 2016 regular season

  1. Not that it made a big difference. Refs missed a time out call by Green Bay with two or three seconds left in the half.

  2. Great! No changes means we still have our refs. Phantom face mask penalties galore!

  3. In other words, every time the Patriots make a big play, Roger Goofball will call down some bogus penalty from his office. It looked like they were practicing a couple of times today.

  4. “We’re more concerned with corrupting the playoffs than we are the regular season.”

    I think that’s what they meant to say.

  5. In theory this could help reduce problems. However, there are two big issues.

    One, accountability. We just have no idea who is whispering what into the refs ears. They say it will only involved those 3 administrative categories. But they also say it’s not going on already, and no one believes that.

    Referee conferences on the field used to be rare. Now they are frequent. Often flags are picked up. What is really going on? We don’t know. The refs are accountable if they make a mistake. They have reputations and therefore incentive to get things right. But there is no accountability for those people in New York whispering sweet nothings. We don’t know who they are much less when they are talking and what they are saying.

    Two, there is the matter of integrity. These same people doing the whispering from New York are the same ones who claimed to have not seen the Rice video, the same ones who even to this day leak false information about deflatgegate(and refuse to correct), and they are the very same people who say it’s not going on now, even though everyone believes that it is. How can anyone trust those people to make objective decisions?

    This problem of integrity and lack of accountability extends to other areas in refereeing. It’s understandable that the league uses “points of emphasis” in the preseason, but how is this fairly used during the season? It’s completely subject to unfairness. A 70 yard play was called back yesterday as the Patriots were flagged for a pick play. The guilty WR was hit by a linebacker/DE on the line of scrimmage and the WR was called for a pick! The DE initiated the contacted, it was within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage, and the WR seemed to try to avoid it. Sure, refs make mistakes. But was this mistake the result of priming the refs before the game with “points of emphasis”…having them look for pick plays that the Patriots are supposedly in favor of? Are these points of emphasis used to plant bias in the referees minds before the game begins? And don’t think this only happens to the Patriots. The problem is whether this process is subject to biases. For example, does Jerry Jones have a direct line to Dean Blandino where he can push his own points of emphasis against the Cowboys next opponent? Can New York teams get the same favoritism in New York because of the high number of Jets employees in the NFL offices?

    Let’s go back to deflategate and the “integrity of the game” issue. Is there really any doubt that there was preconceived coordination between the Colts(and possibly the Ravens) and the league? That doesn’t mean there was no deflating, that’s s a separate issue. But we’re talking about the integrity of how these “sting” operations are run, where certain teams might be coordinating with the league.

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