Authority for officiating office to eject players expanded to include football plays

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Last year, the NFL instituted a new policy allowing the league’s officiating office to advise on-field officials to eject players for flagrant non-football fouls committed on the field.

A year later, that policy has been expanded to include football plays as well.

The amended rule merely inserts authority over football plays to the already existing language of the rule. The change will allow designated members of the league’s officiating office in New York to determine that a flagrant foul, such as blows to the head of an opponent, are worthy of disqualification. Previously, only on-field officials could make the determination about whether to eject players for such plays.

For instance, Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid was ejected from a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last November after forcibly contacting Ben Roethlisberger‘s head as he slid to the ground. If the on-field officials hadn’t concluded Reid needed to be ejected on the spot, the league office could now communicate with the officials prior to the next play to say that Reid should be disqualified.

It would seem unlikely this additional authority would come into play all that often. However, it is just one more thing for the league office to have some control on from their offices in New York City.