Dean Blandino, the director of officiating in charge of instant replay, will succeed Carl Johnson as NFL vice president of officiating, an officiating source has told Football Zebras.com. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has reported as said Blandino is the clear favorite and expected to be named.
An NFL spokesman told us Saturday night that our source was not accurate and that no decision had been made.
Blandino has no on-field officiating experience in the NFL; his experience is anchored in the replay review system. He was part of the implementation of the current generation of replay in 1999. In 2007, he founded Under the Hood, a company that develops replay-officiating solutions for various sports.
He worked as a co-replay official for several playoff games and was a game supervisor during the NFL’s labor lockout with the union officials. During the 2012 season, Blandino shared duties with Johnson on the weekly NFL Network segment “Official Review” which appeared on several network programs to discuss the officials’ calls. Blandino and Johnson both appeared in the segment this season, either individually or together, which returned after it was originally shelved in 2010.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Blandino graduated from Hofstra University.
Former NFL supervisor Larry Upson told us the job is not just a figurehead position. He said, “the primary prerequisites that an individual has to possess in this position are the ability to interact with the media, coaches and NFL management. He or she must possess excellent rules knowledge and have very good people skills. The position demands a lot of your time and is very stressful.”
“Dean Blandino would make a good replacement for Carl,” said Upson.
One current official told us, “Dean has grown up in officiating. He has earned the respect of most of the officials. He is a fair guy, and I am optimistic he will do a great job in the position.”
Carl Johnson will return to the field as the league’s first full-time official. The duties of Johnson’s new position have not been finalized. Blandino’s role as vice president would likely have to be evaluated with the union. Under a prior collective bargaining agreement, grading of officials could not be done by a person who does not have NFL officiating experience. In case of a disputed call, the current system has the vice president making the final determination. We are unsure if the current collective bargaining agreement contains that clause.