Report: Coaches pushing for sky judge, league office is skeptical

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As more and more calls get missed by the officials on the field even when they’re apparent to everyone watching on TV, the idea that the NFL should add a “sky judge” has grown more popular: If we can see on TV that the officials on the field missed something, why not have an official who’s watching a monitor in a booth, with the ability to communicate to the on-field officials that they’ve missed something?

Coaches plan to push that idea when the league comes together in Indianapolis this week for the Scouting Combine, but according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the league office and the majority of officials are skeptical that a sky judge is viable.

The reality is, the NFL officiating office already sometimes communicates in real time with the referee on the field to communicate something that was missed. Most notably, during the AFC Championship Game, CBS commentator Tony Romo mentioned on the air that the officials had missed what should have been a penalty for 12 players on the field. Moments later, the officials huddled up and called that penalty, and it appeared that they had been alerted to it by the officiating office, which likely heard Romo’s words and didn’t want to have a huge TV audience in a big game hear such an obvious missed call pointed out.

If that can happen occasionally when the officiating department feels like doing it, there’s no reason it can’t be part of the regular officiating protocol, with an official in each stadium, watching on a monitor, able to tell the referee immediately when there’s an obvious missed call. But it sounds like the league office isn’t ready for it.

40 responses to “Report: Coaches pushing for sky judge, league office is skeptical

  1. Every single call needs to go to replay, let’s turn a three hour game into a six hour game, that would be great

  2. Idk if even a sky judge would even fix the poor officiating. Honestly, the only thing that would probably fix missed calls is literally fining/firing referees for incompetence.

  3. How could you even argue against this??? Seriously, what could you even say? Other than just blind billionaire arrogance.

  4. Now now, lets not get carried away, you can’t have proof of officials throwing games.

    The NFL, #1 in sports entertainment.

  5. Worked during playoff game because that one game had Riveron and the entire league office’s undivided attention. Thats not happening on your average Sunday. Would much rather have a veteran official at each game acting as sky judge and replay official rather than have Riveron control everything when he still cant make up his mind as to what is or isnt a catch or pass interference.

  6. Tony Romo or any TV announcer should not be the source for officials on whether or not a foul has occurred. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. That’s why we have officials. The sky judge is a great idea!

  7. I would hate to see the NFL add a sky judge. I’m not sure what I would do without the 5 minute ref huddles that take place every few plays. The XFL gets it right in maybe 20 seconds. Not enough time for me to make it to the bathroom and back!

  8. Only a few years late but it will still be welcomed…they still need to move forward w technology on line to gain and similar calls, but it’s a step in the right direction….

  9. Not sure why some people think a sky judge is going to suddenly add 2 hours to the length of the game.

    Especially since those same people will complain bitterly if a bad/missed call is made against their team that could have easily been corrected by a sky judge.

  10. let’s face it…bringing in booth replay has watered down the ‘quality’ of game officals, they just make any call and wait for the booth to correct them…..notice how the complaining about poor officiating doesn’t go away with the replay system??…. just sayin’

  11. They have the technology to monitor the games from the booth and communicate with the refs on the field in real time, get every call correct, and do it without delays. They could actually speed up the games. The delays are on purpose so that we get turned off by the whole idea of replay. Don’t be fooled.

  12. It won’t make any difference unless the officials are actually committed to getting calls right. And they made it pretty obvious last year that they have no intention of doing that. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time.

  13. Since making money is more important than getting the call right, just throw a corporate sponsor logo on the sky judge.

  14. Either you are for the integrity of the game or you are not. Getting the call right should be the goal no matter what. Time is impacted by TV, not by officials. Put an official in the booth and make THAT person the crew chief with the referee the #2. Place ALL communications between the sky judge/referee/NYC overlords on a recording system and broadcast them to the stadium and TV audiences. That reduces any game-time shenanigans AND gives context to Riveron’s explanations later in the week. It is hard to make up a bogus excuse when the real-time deliberations are available and known.

  15. This is a billion dollar league- why is anything left to interpretation? Ball Spots/First Downs should have a laser across the field and a sensor in the ball to determine exact placement. Sensors in gloves (make them mandatory) should be able to determine if a receiver has possession of a ball. Sensors in shoes should be able to determine if a receiver was inbounds. Its the year 2020 and we are officiating using methods from the 1990s. Only reason they are not using this kind of tech or investing in it is for the obvious reason – harder to fix!

  16. So let’s see…
    – the CFL has been using a sky judge for a few seasons, works ok, some say great.
    – the XFL is using a sky judge and so far, works great.

    Now that I think about it, I agree, it will never work in the NFL.

  17. I’ve only gotten to see a little XFL action but even in that little bit, I was quite impressed with the transparency of their review process. There was actually a camera on the “sky judge” so we saw what they saw and we heard what they had to say to each other, right along with them. It was exceedingly well done.

    One might still disagree with the outcome of a given review but it would (or at least should) put an end to the endless crying about rigged games and crooked refs. Not to worry, though. They can still cry about curses and hoodoos and other such brilliance.

  18. It’s obvious the officials don’t want to be shown as wrong or second guessed. That’s the problem now. We need a couple of good old baseball type in your face arguements to let these zebras know we have better view of things they they do. we see replay, make dcesisons within a minute. They take forever. All ego.

  19. And why do it quickly, when they can squeeze in a couple of more TV ads during the delay why the New York dummies and the on field dummies take 4 times as long to decide something we’ve already done.

  20. The whole go to commercial break as a guy is walking off from a slight injury or a review where the call will be obvious and then come back to the next play being run 2 minutes later with hurried explanation is really stupid.

  21. It really is silly that the highest rated and highest income form of entertainment doesn’t use modern technology. The same way Tennis can determine a close call (withing millimeters) in seconds – so can the NFL.

    With today’s technology there should be FASTER more precise calls that are practically indisputable. The whole system used now is archaic.. and its ridiculous.

  22. Wes Mantooth says:
    February 23, 2020 at 5:37 am
    Every single call needs to go to replay, let’s turn a three hour game into a six hour game, that would be great

    65 169 Rate This

    —————-

    or, just get the cal right

    this skycam angle would limit how goodell can cheat by influencing games with semingly “bad” calls that somehow “happen”

    get it?

    otherwise, why wouldn’t a multi billion dollar operation already have this?

  23. Michael Asleson says:
    February 23, 2020 at 1:11 pm
    This is a billion dollar league- why is anything left to interpretation? Ball Spots/First Downs should have a laser across the field and a sensor in the ball to determine exact placement.

    —-

    Really? So how exactly will the laser track at what point a player was down?

  24. SWFLPC.INC says:
    February 24, 2020 at 8:14 am
    Michael Asleson says:
    February 23, 2020 at 1:11 pm
    This is a billion dollar league- why is anything left to interpretation? Ball Spots/First Downs should have a laser across the field and a sensor in the ball to determine exact placement.

    —-

    Really? So how exactly will the laser track at what point a player was down?
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    It doesn’t matter to people that just want to have the perception that things are accurate. They’ve witnessed smoke and mirrors so long they now believe it. Aside from a rule for the placement of the ball (kickoff OB, touchback, etc.) EVERY play and first down are WAGs. The official on the field eyeballs where the ball should be and the chain gang eyeballs where that is and moves accordingly. That process gets even less accurate during hurry-up scenarios. Then in order to justify the facade, the trot out the chains that were initially placed based on a hurried guess and then use that to verify a first down to “accuracy” of less than an inch. The entire dog and pony show is absurd and no amount of lasers and sensors can feasibly fix it.

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