Yesterday was day two of the annual NFL officiating clinic, with former head of officiating Mike Pereira once again providing a recap of the proceedings.
Pereira writes on Twitter that the second day of the clinic was focused on instant replay and the changes in both protocol and procedure coming this season.
The NFL team heads voted during the annual owners’ meetings back in March to approve a plan that would allow reviews to be facilitated by a centralized system headquartered in New York while a play is being reviewed.
Rules Proposal 9 will allow the review headquarters to be in communication with officials from every game to help them best determine the outcome of the play. This is also expected to improve review times.
As Pereira writes on Twitter: “the goal is that when TV comes back from their break, the referee will be ready to make the announcement”.
Pereira also writes that during the officiating clinic, emphasis was put on the topic of incontrovertible evidence. He says that “they are going to live by the mantra that a ruling on the field will not be reversed until there is absolutely clear video evidence”.
This has generally been the rule of thumb in the past, but no doubt we’ve all seen a few very surprising call reversals over the years.
As the former head of officiating, Pereira was very positive about the changes being made to the review system, and would likely agree that a centralized review headquarters was a long time coming before finally being voted for this year.
After all, Pereira used to be the guy that had to go through controversial calls every week and wriggle his way into a justification or have to acknowledge that an official made a mistake, including when it comes to reviews.
Sometimes one set of eyes is simply not enough to get the full picture of a play in the short window of time allotted to the review procedure.
Under this new process, the review headquarters will be able to thoroughly review a play before the official even gets to the review booth down on the field. By then, they can already have ascertained what to look for.
Both the NHL and MLB have already implemented centralized review systems. It had been wildly successful by most accounts in the NHL already, while the MLB’s system has gone through growing pains but is improving significantly on an annual basis following strong opposition to any replay for years.
Quite frankly, the NFL was dangerously close to falling behind in terms of implementing technology to make the game better. This process also helps tackle one of the technology’s main criticisms, which is the time it takes to make a proper call.