Dean Blandino: NFL didn’t properly value the V.P. of officiating job

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After the NFL decided to let senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino to leave for FOX, the league handed the job to Al Riveron. Riveron has struggled in two key aspects of the job: (1) consistently applying the replay standard in an accurate way; and (2) persuasively explaining the decisions made during the replay process to the media and the fans.

So did the league office underestimate how difficult it would be to replace Blandino?

“I think that there was a sense of, around the league office and some of the people in leadership positions, they didn’t value that position the way it should have been valued, and how important it is,” Blandino said during a Wednesday visit to the PFT PM podcast. “During the season, other than the Commissioner, the head of officiating is probably the most public-facing person in the office. And those decisions that are made, I mean, these affect the outcome of games, and that’s your product on the field.

“So I do feel that the position was not valued to where it should have been. And, look, you always like to feel that you provided value, and I would never want someone to fail to make myself look better, but I do believe that they never valued that position where it should have been, and maybe it’s a wake-up call for some people around the league.”

Go back and read that quote again. Read between the lines. Blandino was being diplomatic and tactful, but the message is unmistakable. The NFL wasn’t paying enough money for everything that the job entails.

Despite the billions earned and the millions paid out annually to the Commissioner, the NFL remains (like many other successful businesses) unreasonably cheap in too many different ways. With the V.P. of officiating gig, the NFL either wasn’t paying Blandino enough for everything he was doing or the league decided not to mobilize with a better offer to keep Blandino around when faced with the prospect of him leaving, or both.

Earlier in the discussion, I joked (sort of) with Blandino about the possibility of the league offering him a temporary assignment to return to the job for the postseason and Super Bowl, with the league figuring out how to fix the replay system after the playoffs end.

“I’m very happy doing what I’m doing at FOX,” Blandino said.

I quickly pointed out that it would be a temporary assignment.

“Depends on what the numbers are, what the finances look like,” Blandino said. “But I’m very happy at FOX, and really happy with what I’m doing right now.”

He’s likely happy in part because FOX properly values his skills and abilities. The NFL didn’t. And the current issues with officiating — specifically, the consistent misapplication of the replay standard — can all be traced to that one business decision gone bad.

78 responses to “Dean Blandino: NFL didn’t properly value the V.P. of officiating job

  1. Dean-do you think it had anything to do with you “being impaartial” on the Cowboys” party Bus?

  2. Dean Blandino has done more to build up his own reputation by attacking Riveron than he ever did on his own. Many are happy to see him out of the league office.

  3. So it’s funny in an article about the pay being an issue no mention is made of the pay Dean was getting & what he’s getting now. While I didn’t always agree with Dean he was always right as to the NFL rules. So now we get the coverage just not on the NFL network -sounds like a win win. And yes the NFL has egg on it’s face as I can’t ever remember the new guy – Riverton even talking.

  4. Dean Blandino is being paid by FOX to stir up controversy. The louder he screams, the higher the ratings. Don’t blame the NFL that you chose to take another job for more money.

  5. Maybe get rid of some of the bloated executive staff uses to try to insulate himself and spend some money on stuff that actually affects the game itself.

  6. I’d like to know how much he made. I’m sure it was WAY more than enough. Just like everyone else in football, he overvalues himself & cries about it. He just did it more tactfully than the neanderthalithic players do. They ALL make way too much money.

  7. V.p of officiating !!! Never knew who the guy was before the last two. They should be seen but no heard just like the officials. There is a lot of grand standing these days

  8. You know Riverton is doing a bad job, when they are making the insinuation that Blandino will come in and be an improvement. The premise of the article is probably correct. But Blandino was bad but Riverton is horrible. But other than replay, who knows how bad the rest of his responsibilities are being handled. To me the NFL needs to replace this position and the guy handing out fines.

  9. This constant bumbling of replays is more likely to turn me off the NFL than any of the other issues people have complained about all year (anthem protests, brutality of the game etc). Riveron needs to be replaced immediately before this season and the comIng playoffs get tarnished any further.

  10. Let’s face it, the commish & the owners pretty much disregard the importance of anyone who doesn’t hold the title of “Commissioner” or “Owner”.

    They claim to be concerned about player safety, but refuse to expand the rosters, insist upon better protective equipment & insist on playing games on Thursday nights.

    Integrity of the games is supposedly paramount, but full time refs & better technology are apparently too expensive for the multi-billion dollar business.


  11. Riveron will probably be reassigned to some other rules or replay related position after the season is over. There is not even the remotest of possibilities that the NFL changes course at this point and hires someone like Blandino, because they would tacitly be admitting that some of Riveron’s calls have been incorrect, thereby calling into question the outcome of certain games.

  12. They’re going to have to do something because as of now Al Riveron isn’t cutting it!

    He’s making too many questionable calls for my liking and over-ruling the on field refs when there isn’t enough evidence to do so. He needs to make the calls within the rules. If there’s not undisputable evidence to overturn a call, the call on the field must stand. There HAS TO be consistency in the calls, and so far under Riveron there isn’t. It’s been a total crap shoot with him…

    He’s changing on field calls that should not be overturned, and that’s just not fair. If fans don’t feel like their team is given a fair chance by officials, they WILL stop watching.

  13. oh stop. you were doing a job that 95% of the readers here would’ve killed for and could’ve easily done.

    seriously… why did he have that job in the first place? what makes him different than us?

  14. When Blandino first got the VP of Officiating job, I did not understand how he got it. After reading his rulings and explanations, I was impressed with his ability to boil down the difficulty of the call and the reason for ruling. I was even more impressed when he publicly stated his job was not to referee the game, but to correct errors. He did a good job for the NFL and now it shows with Riveron’s incompetence.

    The NFL only needs to look at NASCAR to see the effect of fans reactions to rulings they feel are preferential. That sport is drying up like a worm on a sidewalk. That could happen to the NFL too if they are not careful about this.

  15. “So did the league office underestimate how difficult it would be to replace Blandino?”

    To replace a guy who had never officiated a game? You would have to take “underestimation” to entirely new depths…

  16. That assumes the league wants the outcome to be fair. Fix has been in for the Steelers all year long. Their receivers push off 30 yards downfield full arm extended every play

  17. NFL should take a piece of Goodell’s salary and provide all NFL Officials full-time salaries. It’s ridiculous that this multi-billion dollar endeavor relies on part-time officials. Maybe there wouldn’t be such a need for instant replay, if all the officials were full-time professionals.

  18. Blindino’s decisions weren’t any better than Riveron’s, they just came with better (cough) ‘explanations’ (cough, cough). And of course Bilindino only had Perreira gunning for him where Riveron has a Judas on both sides taking pot shots. How is it that everyone has forgotten that less than a year ago it was Baghdad Bob Blindino we were all questioning? Many of us were horrified at the idea of review being centralized in NY and wanted to see each crew have it’s own onsite replay official. Has anyone seen anything so far that’s changed their minds?

  19. Not so much that Blandino felt underpaid, but that Riveron was willing to work cheap(er) and the people better qualified for the position wanted what Blandino wanted. And that’s especially key this season with the VP actually making the final decisions over the game referee. NHL does it the best with a crew in Toronto making replay calls. MLB uses regular umpire crews on a rotating basis in their replay center – still better than the NFL. Riveron’s replay decisions are showing this should not be a one-man job… the NFL replay center should have people trained as rules experts who regularly watch game film an study the rule book inside and out.

  20. As I recall there were just as many controversies when Blandino was in charge and he built a Czar-like image of himself that seemed rather silly. The fact that he is paid by FOX do do nothing but say yes or no is amazing. Who really cares what he thinks. We see the refs original call, the replay official’s decision and then the opinions of the announcers in the booth. Blandino should get down on his knees and thank everyone in the universe that he gets paid for being a second guesser. It’s really a tough job to read the rulebook and watch TV.

  21. I don’t think the League underestimated how difficult it would be to replace Blandino. But I think they were arrogant enough not to care. Leadership at the NFL office is embarrassing. I think Blandino was smart to get the F out

  22. Money is certainly an issue at 345, but the real problem is that the NFL is determined to put as many minorities as possible in senior leadership positions. So they go out and find any minority they can and give them a fancy title.
    Think about these names: Dawn Aponte, Kim Field, Rod Graves, Troy Vincent, Jamil Northcutt, Damani Leech, Akil Coad, the list goes on and on.
    Look at these backgrounds of all of these people. They have failed multiple times and multiple positions and multiple places. They only reason they get these positions is because the NFL loves to promote diversity and inclusion.
    This has been a problem for years. It has absolutely destroyed morale at the league office, and, as an employee there, can tell you that these people DO NOT DESERVE TO BE EMPLOYED.
    If the NFL actually hired based on talent, success, integrity and intelligence, they would be the most dominant league by miles. But instead every single chance they have to fail they do.
    And this is the reason why.

  23. Once you moved replay off the field to New York…. The value of the VP of officiating sky rocketed. Replays are now not only second guessed, but they are also “politically” questioned.

  24. The overturned TD catches this year have been horrendous, and for some reason they’ve all benefited the Patriots…

  25. He was a blowhard and we hated his calls and excuses on Monday’s when he had the job. Now, he gets to undercut his successor from the safety of Fox studios. Enough Blandino already!

  26. Based on his performance so far at Fox whatever they are paying him is way too much . Rarely takes a definitive stand on the call and then his explanations of the rules are muddled and sometimes just plain confusing . Other then that he’s doing a great job lol .

  27. Week 17 2017 NFL Officiating Ineptitude Power Rankings

    5. Ed Hochuli
    4. Jerome Bogar
    3. Any 2012 NFL Replacement Referee
    2. Pete Morelli
    1. Al Riveron

  28. Just do away with instant replay. This isn’t the first year they’ve botched these calls. If they’re going to get it wrong, at least get it wrong more quickly and not make us sit through long reviews.

  29. When you think Goodell is worth $200 million it’s hard to believe you would be under paying anyone. Then again if you think Goodell is worth his salary it’s obvious owners are out of touch with the compensation parameters.

  30. Why is this guy, who has never officiated a game in his life, some sort of oracle for advice on officiating?

    The central replay official “system” is the worst idea ever.

    And to act like that bozo wasn’t just as bad as Riveron is hilarious.

  31. We’re going to hate whomever does the job. But Blandino was probably the best we got. Riveron is actually awful at it, and if we can tell, they can tell.

  32. Most days,
    I don’t watch a single game besides the team that I root for. I used to be consummed by most of the NFL Games on any given day. Roger the codger-dodger, you are losing me. Keep up the crap and I will switch to Yoga or Qi Gong-AMF! I don’t want to waste 4 hours of my life on a game that is influenced by incopetent officials and confusing rules. Who is John Galt. CC: Adolph Coors.

  33. buttfumbles says:
    December 28, 2017 at 2:03 pm
    The overturned TD catches this year have been horrendous, and for some reason they’ve all benefited the Patriots…

    The overturned calls were clearly correct. Confirmed by broadcast teams who all admitted that the overturn call was correct even though the admitted they wanted it NOT to be overturned after going out on a limb on National TV.

    You are right about one thing, the ONLY reason some people think this is a problem is that NE won those games. So i’ll impart wisdom from the Brotherhood of the Miserable 31. Don’t whine about officiating.

  34. FOX games are almost unwatchable when the announcers need an ex official to tell them the rules. Romo does a great on CBS telling the audience what’s going on.

  35. And Blindeano was neck deep in deflategate proving one of two things,

    Corrupt and in the tank or completely ignorant of the nature of inflated objects in cold weather. Evidently didn’t live in a place where your basketball wouldn’t bounce bc you left it out in the cold.

  36. commentawaitingdeletion says:
    December 28, 2017 at 1:42 pm
    Blindino’s decisions weren’t any better than Riveron’s, they just came with better (cough) ‘explanations’ (cough, cough). And of course Bilindino only had Perreira gunning for him where Riveron has a Judas on both sides taking pot shots. How is it that everyone has forgotten that less than a year ago it was Baghdad Bob Blindino we were all questioning? Many of us were horrified at the idea of review being centralized in NY and wanted to see each crew have it’s own onsite replay official. Has anyone seen anything so far that’s changed their minds?

    9 4 Rate This


    Except Riveron doesn’t go on the Cowboys party bus or comes off as a used car salesman or a pathological liar from NY.

    Big difference in my book….In each “controversial” call case this year, Riveron has actullay followed the rule exactly how Whinebaugh and Tomlin signed on off it as.

    Carry on.

  37. It’s crazy they didn’t go over the replay rules with Riveron–specifically the “clear and obvious” standard–and make sure he was going to abide by them. Goodell has like 50 underlings in management positions yet nobody can complete even the simplest of tasks.

  38. Blandino is hot garbage…no one watching a game live gives a damn what a former official thinks of a call…What other sport even contemplates hiring former refs to give opinions during games?

  39. People have a very short attention span. When Pereira was in that role, every one thought he sucked. When Blandino was in that role, everyone thought he sucked. How quickly we forget laughing at how stupid Blandino’s explanations were when he did his video segment explaining controversial rulings each week. LMFAO.

    Riveron may be using different methods to get his rulings, super slow mo, frame by frame, etc. But why exactly is that a bad thing, as long as he is consistent? And he seems to be consistent. (insert, consistently rules in favor of the Patriots joke)

  40. His skills and abilities? What skills and abilities does Blandino have? He’s not very articulate or well-spoken. He is in no way telegenic. And, most importantly, he was absolutely atrocious at the highest level of his profession.

  41. suncawy says:
    December 28, 2017 at 2:54 pm
    If the officials could ever define what a catch is, then the job might have more importance.

    They have and it’s quite easy to understand, if you want to. Don’t look with fan eyes and it will be clear in most cases, though there have been a few that defy explanation. Not the last two however. Those were pretty clear despite what some folks think it “looked like” in the face of clear evidence.

  42. Maybe what this league needs is an “almost complete” call. For guys who tried really really hard and almost caught the ball. If it “looks like” a catch and it’s in the end zone, you get 3 points. On the field, you get 1/2 the yardage. And both teams get ice cream after the game!

  43. Self praise is no praise.

    Riveron is going by the letter of the rule and using frame by frame technology. Blandino and Pereira kissed Polian’s ass.

    Riveron is forcing the league to change the rules not game the replay.

  44. brady2gronktd says:
    December 28, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Blandino is hot garbage…no one watching a game live gives a damn what a former official thinks of a call…

    It’s even worse than you thought, because Blandino has never even been an official.

  45. I might be one of the few fans that liked Simms. I admit I was skeptical about Romo but he’s been great.

  46. 345snarkavenue says:
    December 28, 2017 at 3:11 pm
    I thought it was hilarious seeing all the people on here advocating for Blandino’s return the last few days; He was skewered weekly the last couple years.

    Same types who loved/hated/loved/hate deebo.

  47. You’re dredging up comments from two hacks, Pereira and Blandino, who are critical of the current occupant of the position they could’t handle?

    Like you agreed with every decision those two bozos made on replay.

  48. I don’t think Blandino leaving the NFL was just about money. I’m sure the FOX gig is the fun without the headaches. When he left, they turned his position into three positions. I think he could see the writing on the wall of being the one making all the decisions in New York without the support of questionable League office leadership. Coaches and GMs around the League seem to generally like Blandino even if they didn’t always agree. But when you put a bunch of amateurs and concussed former players in leadership positions, you are going to be left with incompetence and anyone of quality bolts for the door. Does Park Avenue ever handle anything in a competent, transparent way? You better pay someone a whole lot of money to stay in that circus.

  49. Why are these clowns making it about themselves?

    The minute referees or officials become the focus, you’re doing it wrong.

    I’m glad to see that in these comments we’re not pretending like we were happy with Blandino either, or Perreria or however you spell his name before that.

    We’ve been complaining non-stop about the officials since their strike.

  50. So they’re paying a committee of individuals to come up with a list of preferred head coaching candidates(which still blows my mind), that pretty much consists of the O and D coordinators of the top 3 or 4 teams in each conference, but are going to low-ball pretty much the most important position they have after the commissioner, as it relates to the outcome of games. Wise business model.

  51. The issue is not that they tried to improve on Dean, the issue is that they took a humongous step backwards. And the issue isn’t that there is instant replay, the issue is how instant replay has evolved. Supporters of NFL have been inappropriately beaten up this year by what has come from the replay system and the NFL’s horrible treatment of the instant replay evolution. If these owners and their employees are capable of being shamed, they surely are.

  52. Actually I think I agree, the NFL does need to put more attention and resources to this. They dont need Blandino back and Riverton is worse. They need to get a team of well trained guys to sort the calls out. One guy making his own choices no matter hiw well paid does not cut it. They also do need to make a decision on the standards and rules and then apply it consistently.

  53. Here’s the deal. The definition of what is and what isn’t a catch has become complicated enough that in in certain situations involving control, foot position and “making a football move” are too much for a single human being to process collectively in only a few seconds.

    The ultimate goal is to get the call correct, is it not? So when an official errantly calls a play one thing and replay shows he was incorrect, why are we bitching about replay? Perhaps the answer is to simplify the requirements for a given play, such as a catch or become accustomed a review ensuring that the calls ultimately reflect what really happens on the field.

    It seems to me people are complaining because they wanted something to be a touchdown, were told it was a touchdown, but review, based on the current rules, discovered it wasn’t a touchdown. Get over it!

  54. “That assumes the league wants the outcome to be fair. Fix has been in for the Steelers all year long.”

    I don’t care for the Steelers or Patriots or even the NFL so much, but clearly if the NFL was fixing games to help Pittsburgh they would have a win vs New England. Heck, there was a time before Goodell ruined the game when that James play was clearly a catch.

  55. Should be noted that Blandino NEVER served as an NFL ref…Riveron actually put on the stripes and did it for 9 years in the NFL and 15 years before that in College Football.

  56. Despite all the warrantless crying, Riveron isn’t botching calls; they are getting them right and explaining in good (not perfect) detail. The biggest improvement replay review needs is more transparency, and better communication with the viewing public. Step one is broadcasts have to improve: it should not have taken so long to get a second angle look at James’ TD catch; Romo and Nantz should not have been unaware the score was still under review for multiple minutes before analyzing the catch and why it was still under review. Step two is Riveron should be giving an immediate detailed explanation of any reversal, using the pertinent camera angles and rules to make it clear to the public.

    When people get it in their mind that a call has gone a certain way, and the broadcast gives no clue it may be reversed, that’s when people get up in arms when it seems there is a reversal out of the blue to something that is ‘obvious’. And then they say (dumb things like), well the broadcast team didn’t notice, so it’s not obvious, so it shouldn’t be overturned.

  57. ‘Blind Dino’ needs firing…..

    It tells you everything you need to know about the status of the NFL rulebook, when fans, coaches and players who have been involved in the game for multiple decades; need idiots like Pereira and Blandino to explain the rules, at all.

    This whole bunch of junk needs fixing bad, and it starts with firing folks like Blandino, Rivron and Pereira.

    If the competition committee can’t make this whole deal fairer and easier to comprehend for everybody; then they need disbanding too.

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