Report: Competition Committee now supports idea of sky judge

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A year ago, the idea of a sky judge received “no support” from the Competition Committee. Apparently all it took to convince them was the one-year failed experiment that expanded instant replay to include pass interference.

John Kryk of the Toronto Sun reports that the Competition Committee now supports having a sky judge to ensure that certain bad calls or non-calls are fixed in real time.

“The Competition Committee had an abbreviated conference call — obviously, with what’s going on they can’t meet in person as they normally would — but they had a call last week some time,” Dean Blandino, the league’s former head of officiating who now does the same for the XFL, told Kryk, “and they went through all the rules proposals. And there is support for this.”

The Ravens and Chargers jointly proposed two variations of the sky judge concept. The first calls for a “booth umpire” as an eighth member of the officiating crew, and the other proposes the addition of a senior technology advisor to the referee to assist the crew.

The XFL’s sky judge not only ruled on replay reviews but helped on-field officials in the final five minutes of a half.

“As technology continues to improve, and as we can see things as we’re watching on TV that officials cannot see in real time, it’s incumbent upon a league to try to incorporate that into the official decision-making,” Blandino told Kryk.

The NFL reacted to the Rams-Saints NFC Championship debacle from the 2018 season by expanding replay to include interference. It solved nothing, with few reversals even when pass interference was obvious.

The league now is reconsidering how it can fix egregious officiating errors.

Owners typically vote on rules proposals during the league’s annual meeting. But those meetings, scheduled for earlier this week in Palm Beach, Florida, were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Owners now are scheduled to vote on rules changes at their May 19-20 meeting in Marina Del Ray, California, but that meeting also might not happen.

9 responses to “Report: Competition Committee now supports idea of sky judge

  1. For whatever reason, the league hasn’t wanted to allow the players to entirely determine the outcome of the games or point spreads. We’ve had the technology to referee the games with close to 100% accuracy without causing any delays, but the league keeps insisting on not allowing that to happen. I very seriously doubt that they’ve suddenly had a change of heart. Every time we see some type of improvement, it ends up being a sham. The league could turn it completely over to an independent group, and it would be fixed. It’s really very simple. The key word is “willing”. And the league is not willing. It hasn’t cost me one penny because I don’t bet on games, and it’s still very entertaining even though it appears that something shady is going on. Fooled me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Sorry. Not buying it.

  2. Here’s a novel idea: Just hire some competent refs, and hold them all responsible for the quality of their work. There are an insane number of completely incompetent refs in the NFL nowadays, and either the league doesn’t care to do anything to weed them out, or their union is to powerful, or.. what3ever. But it needs to be fixed. Sky judges, some guy in a booth in NYC, endless delays for instant replays, rules for simple things like what constitutes a catch requiring a lawyer to interpret – these also have contributed to the current mess. Simplify, and get rid of the bad refs. Shouldn’t be complicated.

  3. The definition of delusional is to watch how the NFL has handled rules and replay the last several years and then believe they’d do a good job of implementing something like Sky Judge. They ROUTINELY blow replay calls now and they’d do the same with Sky Judge. Until they fix the rule book, get rid of the lousy officials and put somebody competent in charge there is no way officiating will get any better. When your foundation is bad you don’t make things better by putting on a 2nd and 3rd story. You have to fix the foundation first.

  4. I’d rather have a sky judge than coaches throwing replay flags. It’s about time the dinosaurs who govern the NFL embrace technology.

  5. One play in the Rams-Saints game was a debacle. The rest of it was the Rams storming back from a 13-0 lead and beating the Saints, as every important stat shows, not to mention the scoreboard. But that doesn’t fit the narrative, does it?

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