Proposed expanded duties for replay assistant could fail

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The NFL needs to bridge the gap between what seven officials see on the field and what millions see at home or wherever they watch the games. There’s a chance it won’t happen this year.

Peter King explains in his weekly Football Morning in America column that he’s not sure whether the expansion of the replay assistant’s duties, as proposed by the Competition Committee, will pass.

As of last week, King thought it would said through. He now writes that confusion exists regarding the powers of the Replay Assistant and the involvement of the New York command center.” King explains that one coach believes it won’t pass, and that a league official said it will be close.

To adopt the rule, at least twenty-four teams must vote in favor of it.

Actually, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for the proposal to fail. It’s a half measure, one that fails to do what needs to be done.

Here’s what needs to be done. The league needs to have a booth umpire (or a sky judge) who has the benefit of all camera angles and the power to speak directly to the referee. Officials meet and confer all the time regarding the things they see and don’t see on the field. Why not give a member of the officiating crew the power to see (and not see) what the rest of us see (and not see)?

As we explained earlier this month, the replay assistant already has a lot to do. A separate person (booth umpire or sky judge) should be used to help fix obvious errors that could drive the discussion for the next 24 hours or longer, and that person should have the power to chime in on anything and everything, not the limited range of extra powers the replay assistant would possess.

Unfortunately, the officiating department doesn’t support anything beyond limited expansion of the duties of the replay assistant. Which continues to be an invitation to disaster. Without the ability to quickly fix the next Rams-Saints defensive pass interference non-call debacle, the next one will happen.

The next one eventually will be the one that happens when 30 or 40 or more states have legalized gambling, and the blowback will include calls for congressional hearings and/or criminal investigations. When that happens, one of the reasons for it will be that the league was unwilling to spend some of that $1 billion it’ll make over the next five years via its tri-exclusive sports book partnerships on ensuring that any and all wagers legally made on the games aren’t undermined by mistakes that could have easily been avoided.

The league either lacks the ability to see this happening, or it doesn’t care. Regardless, the stage is being set for a major problem. Maybe at least 24 of the owners will realize that over the next 48 hours, dust off the Baltimore booth umpire proposal, and adopt it.

12 responses to “Proposed expanded duties for replay assistant could fail

  1. Just don’t let the game become like basketball where the game is full of replay reviews.

  2. Whatever they decide..length of time to reverse or confirm call needs to be a most important factor..If it’s taking too long to get it right..not worth it.

  3. You’re giving the owners way too much credit along with the officials crew. As you said, it’s beyond easy for someone sitting in an office with all the views to make a decision most of the fans would make ie the right one. Vs arguing about it for a week till the next games. Come on how about common sense & do the right thing.

  4. You love the sky judge concept. The reason it’s not in place is that there is much that can go wrong. We will question officiating even more, wondering why lesser infractions are not being called, considering that there is a booth official. There may even be questions whether a booth official is on the take, given the acceptance of gambling now. At best, it’ll lead to more penalties, and more slowing the game down.

  5. Better officiating definitely needs to be adjusted for sure, some of the penalties or non-penalties have an actual impact on the game. I don’t think you slow the game down by consistently reviewing what’s right or what’s wrong, but rather, having a sky judge make quick decisions if they are not sure about a call.

  6. Just watch VAR in the Premier League to know how it will fail. Review was meant to correct botched calls, not close calls.

  7. “Whatever they decide..length of time to reverse or confirm call needs to be a most important factor..If it’s taking too long to get it right..not worth it.”

    I will never understand this line of thinking. The purpose is to achieve the correct call. That should be the sole consideration. The length of time it takes to get the call correct is irrelevant.

  8. I’m all for replay just make it quick. An off-site replay assistant can review the play and communicate to the ref much quicker than the ref going to the sideline and watching the replay angles “under the hood.”

  9. The NFL needs to fire Al Riveron.

    He is simple not up to the job.
    Replace him with someone competent.

  10. To all of the people complaining about slowing the game down or reviews taking too long: Do you want your accountant to do your taxes quickly, or correctly? Do you want your doctor to take the necessary amount of time to achieve the correct diagnosis? Or do you want to be out the examining room in five minutes, regardless of whether the doctor has had enough time to make a correct decision?

    The point is that replay or review exists to get the call correct. If you are unwilling to take the necessary time to achieve the correct result, there should be no replay or review at all.

  11. Right now each ump/ref/line judge watch a specific area of the field and certain positions during the play. Is the sky judge going to review plays or try to watch what 15 to 20 monitors at a time to judge all 22 positions and the entire field for every play. If it is review that will take like 15 minutes (which is good for the networks since they are already looking at near doubling commercials to pay for the new contracts). really need 22 sky judges to watch the all the monitors. This idea will push the game to six hours (and the end of the NFL).

  12. The replay gets it wrong half the time anyway. Scrap replay all together, hire full time officials, let the calls on field stand and hold officials accountable, if they suck fire them and hire better ones. Time for the billionaires to pry open the wallets for something important.

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