Changes to the rules regarding the use of the helmet, the catch rule and kickoffs have gotten a lot of notice this year and former NFL referee Terry McAulay thinks there’s another big change on the officiating front coming this season.
In a conversation with Peter King for Football Morning in America, McAulay, who now works for NBC as a rules analyst, noted that the league “doesn’t want those technical reversals that we saw over and over last year” and that they want reversals only for “clear and obvious” errors by on-field officials.
Fewer reversals may be joined by fewer reviews altogether. A fumble by Raiders quarterback Connor Cook and recovered by the Rams in Saturday’s game was the kind of play that almost always got a second look in the past, but went unreviewed this time.
“We knew the league was going to be more circumspect on replay this year, but to go this extent — this fumble wasn’t even stopped to be reviewed — is a big change,” McAulay said. “With my new job at NBC, I’m going to be much more cautious about saying a call should be reversed. Why have replay if it’s not going to reverse this play?”
Officiating decisions often change between the preseason and regular season, so it will take some time to know how much change is afoot with replay reviews and reversals this year. If it is as big as McAulay suggests, there will likely be plenty of officiating discussion in the opening weeks of the year.