NFL official reviews getting an overhaul

The NFL is taking steps to improve the challenge system.

Starting in 2014 the NFL hopes to have a central review system set up to help officials handle the coaches challenges and reviews from NFL games. The new system would work like this:

  • Coach challenges a call.
  • The Central review team Dean Blandino (Head of officials) or Alberto Riveron (Senior Director of officials) begins reviewing the play.
  • A communication line with the official is opened and discussion about best angles is had.
  • The official reviews the play under the hood.
  • The call is made by the official.

So the added wrinkle is having a greater set of eyes on the play in question. The hope is the replay time could be shortened as the official will have some help on which angles he should be looking at.

I for one still don't like it. If there is a central review station and they have communication with the official set up, why would the people with multiple angles on much greater displays not make the call? Wouldn't it make more sense for the guys who are in charge of making sure officials are up to standard to make the call from the comfort of a control room?

On field officials still have the responsibility of policing every play on the field. Only when a review is initiated would the control room be called on to add their expertise. The head official could still handle the coaches challenges but in my scenario would never have to leave the field. A challenge could be called, the ref could verify and then be given the decision.

There would be less time, less anger directed at one official and probably greater accuracy. As we have it now, leaving the call up to the on field official has not always been the best decision. Take the Bengals against the Colts last season for example. The Bengals went for a touchdown from one yard out and live action it looked like Benjarvus Green-Ellis was tripped up short of the goal line. During a review Jeff Tripplette watched the play for several minutes and overturned the call on the field. This gave the Bengals a touchdown they did not deserve.

The new system may avoid similar situations to what the Bengals benefited from as the official would have their bosses in their ear giving opinions of how the play should be called. But, if that is the case, why couldn't the bosses just make the call as the official waits patiently on the field?

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