Since its invention, the NFL has found more and more ways to incorporate replay into games. All under the mantra of “getting the call right” but it comes at the tradeoff of football games – inherently a pretty segmented game – slowing down even more. That’s why Art Rooney II and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been against the Baltimore Ravens’ “eye in the sky” rule proposal that would’ve played a sky judge in the press box to correct any egregious errors by the officiating staff.
Rooney said he wasn’t necessarily against the idea in principle but believed there were other redundant aspects of replay that could’ve been eliminated. He spoke with Steelers.com’s Bob Labriola about the recent rule changes.
“Some of the comments we had were along the lines of ‘just too much replay,’ and I personally think we should do one or the other,” Rooney told Labriola. “If we’re going to bring the extra official in and make him the replay official in the stadium, I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but then let’s eliminate the replay in New York. I don’t think we need both.”
Ultimately, the Ravens proposal did not pass. In fact, Baltimore withdrew the idea days before the owners voted on proposed rule changes today.
The #Ravens have withdrawn their proposal to add an eighth official off the field (AKA the “sky judge”), but the competition committee’s proposal for expanded booth-to-official communication with video has strong support among coaches and is likely to pass next week, per sources.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 16, 2021
But as Pelissero’s tweet mentions, the NFL did vote to include expanded replay and better communication between the booth and the on-field officials.
The new rule reads, in part: “The replay official and designated members of the officiating department may consult with on-field officials, or conduct a replay review, or advise the game officials on specific, objective aspects of a play”
Which is effectively what the Ravens is proposing without the “Big Brother” sounding label to it. Which goes back to Rooney’s concern over the game being overly officiated. For him, the goal is finding a balance between getting calls right and not having games get so bogged down in discussions, reviews, and replays.
But it’s hard for the NFL to put the genie back in the bottle. They’d rather trade longer games to avoid getting calls disastrously wrong and all the negative press that comes along with it. Rooney’s feelings are a bit old-school in this new-school era.