You might recall—though more likely you won’t—that last season the NFL partnered with the CFL to develop an Officiating Training Program, which I wrote about at the time. “Beginning this season, a group of NFL officials will have the opportunity to work as part of CFL crews during preseason and regular-season games in June and July”, a league statement read.
“This historic partnership gives officials in both leagues an opportunity to hone their craft and get better through shared development activities and more snaps at the pro level”, according to the release that was published at the time.
Yesterday, the league announced that they would be expanding their Officiating Development Program with the CFL. Rather than three, this year, six officials from the CFL will enter the program, “which is designed to train top officials in all aspects of NFL officiating”. What might that entail? Glad you asked.
“Elements of the program include attending NFL minicamps and training camps, officiating preseason games, studying position-specific film with veteran NFL officials, reviewing mechanics and analyzing rules differences between the NFL and other leagues, including the CFL and college football”, yesterday’s statement reads.
Six NFL officials—two more than last year—will also be working with the CFL this year, participating in both preseason and regular-season games there in June and July. These officials include the side and field judges in order to minimize the significance of the differences between the rules of the two leagues.
Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said in the statement that “working together to develop a sustainable pipeline of highly qualified and experienced officials is in the best interest of both of our leagues”.
“We continue to explore how to collaborate on providing more on-field experience for our officials as well as developing a broad range of football personnel”, he continued. “This is a partnership that makes good sense”.
His counterpart from the CFL also believed that the officials who participated in the program from his league “benefited greatly from it”, adding, “we’re excited that the NFL saw enough merit in it to want to expand the program”.
The NFL has been attempting to address concerns about the officiating process in recent years, recently announcing that they will begin hiring full-time officials, as well as utilizing resources off the field to make decisions on replay reviews. This development program is another effort on their part to try to better the quality of officiating in the sport.