The NFL didn’t change much in the rule book, though expanded replay for pass interference is gone. Still, Mike Pereira, a rules analyst at Fox who is the former NFL director of officials, sees this season as a huge challenge for officials.
They had no in-person clinics and no preseason games, obviously, and have 11 new officials among 117 this season.
“The officiating department and the officials have never faced what they’re facing this year when it comes to preparation for the season,” Pereira told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. “There’s a ton of new officials and zero time to prepare, other than on Zoom. So you’re going to have guys on the field that have never officiated at this level before. It’s not like college. It’s a lot quicker and a lot tougher. So that first deer-in-the-headlight look you’re going to get happens in Week One instead of Week One of the preseason.”
Walt Anderson, who is charge of training and development of NFL officials, tried some new training methods to prepare officials for what they face this season.
The NFL has done away with the crew concept by regionalizing officials.
“My old philosophy which was consistent with [longtime official and NFL executive]
Jerry Seeman’s philosophy, is you don’t work a team more than once in a season,” Pereira said. “If you do have to work them twice, then you work them once at home, and once away. That’s gone.”