Do you hate the quality of NFL officiating? If so, join the club, because pretty much everybody does. And if you are part of ‘pretty much everybody’, you might be happy to hear that the league reportedly intends to conduct a “top-down review” of the officiating in the league this offseason, via Judy Battista for the NFL Network.
The focus of the conversation has been, predictably, about the new pass interference replay rule, which has been the center of attention on a number of occasions. Through the first 10 weeks, only about 15 percent of reviews had been reversed, but in the past four weeks, about 45 percent have been reversed.
Battista was in attendance at the winter meetings and offered this report. She basically noted that the league has seen the standard for reversal change in the middle of the season, and that is not what they want to see.
“They were fine with. early in the season, the standard had to be catastrophic”, he said. “It had to be a New Orleans-like offense to overturn it. Then it has changed in the last few weeks. That has been alarming to some people in the league. They do not want the standard changing, particularly at this time of the year”.
We saw a similar slow alteration of the standard for reversal in the season in which the Philadelphia Eagles won, as well. There were multiple plays in that Super Bowl game in which, earlier in the year, the calls probably would have gone the other way.
“I’ve been told that, once the offseason begins, there will be a top-down review of officiating that will include the question of who is in charge of reviews at the command center”, she said. Since 2017, the head of officiating has been responsible for ruling on replay reviews.
That was supposed to be Dean Blandino when the league approved the new rule to give the position that authority, but he up and quit and left us with Al Riveron, who hasn’t exactly been the most popular person outside of New England, and now even he is getting grief there.
The primary issue that has been reported among those Battista spoke to was simply a desire for consistency. What should we expect to see on gameday? That is the question coaches want to have an answer to.
As far as the top-down review, it’s not clear what that will entail. I don’t think we’re going to see chips and lasers determining whether or not the ball crossed the plane or picked up a first down, though I would personally welcome that.