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NewsNFL officiating video: Week 12 reminds us that officials do difficult work

NFL officiating video: Week 12 reminds us that officials do difficult work

Umpire Dan Ferrell (New England Patriots)

“They see it once, in real time, full speed,” Dean Blandino, the officiating vice president, opened his weekly video to the media. “Then we all get to evaluate them from multiple different angles with high definition, slow motion replay, so we understand where the standard is, and we are going to work to meet that standard, but our officials are very, very good at what they do.”

Out of over 29,000 plays this season, which averages roughly 160 per game, we’ve see just over four mistakes per game. Considering the number of decisions officials have to make, which is much more than 29,000, Blandino and the league see this as “talking about a very small number of mistakes.”

When the Patriots visited the Broncos Sunday night, timing and clock management was an issue. Remember, charged timeouts can happen in certain situations inside of two minutes, even if a team has no timeouts left. Football Zebras covered this excess timeout issue in our Quick Calls this past Sunday. Coaches and the league now want unusual starts communicated to not only the coaching staff and sidelines, but also the quarterbacks.

Also in Denver, Blandino agreed that the offensive pass interference call against Gronkowski was the right call, as Gronk created separation between him and the defender. The rule states that whether using an open hand, fist, or forearm, if the receiver creates separation, then that is offensive pass interference, but leaning in with no extension is not interference.

In Green Bay on Thanksgiving Day, replay rules and clock issues were discussed. When the ruling on the field was a touchdown by the visiting Bears was overturned after replay (because we were under two minutes), a ten-second runoff occurred with the clock inside one minute. The theory here is that had the call be correct on the field, the clock would have still been rolling for roughly ten seconds.

A catch/no-catch call has been another hot topic this season. In Seattle, a Seahawks defender was ruled to have intercepted a pass because he completed the process of the catch — going to the ground and rolling over — which ended the play, even if he subsequently lost control of the ball. The Steelers argued it was a simultaneous catch but since both players didn’t initially secure the ball at the same time and complete the entire process, it was correctly ruled an interception and not a simultaneous catch.

Finally, when the Eagles visited the Lions in Detroit, Blandino discussed how when a runner extends a ball over the goal line, then loses the ball, it’s still a touchdown. Since he was a runner and not a receiver, the rules are different. Had he been a receiver in the process of the catch, it would’ve been an incomplete pass.

4 thoughts on “NFL officiating video: Week 12 reminds us that officials do difficult work

  1. A few years back Hines Ward caught a TD in the end zone,hit the gorund, rolled out of bounds, and then lost the ball. It was ruled incomplete.

    The example of the lack of consistency, and the covering up by twisting the rule each week, just keep piling up.

    Not that that will change anything.

    Secondly: Yes, the officials see the play at full speed. Sometimes, like in the GB / DET game they DON’T see the play at all but THINK they saw something. In those circumstances, and those where they are demonstrably wrong it would be helpful if someone with a better view (Blandino) would tell them so one team does not get an unfair advantage.

  2. Agree 100% officials do an awesome job on average. The advent of multiple field cameras, angles, replay, slow motion and HD illuminate and magnify all bad calls. NFL’s problem is how to us the new technology to their advantage.

    I would hope in a not so distant future crews are comprised of a field referee and replay referee the later having leeway to halt on field play at any time for a replay review. The rules will require a heavy over haul as just about everything should be reviewable. It’s the only way to achieve the next level of lower crew errors and has to be done in light of the current TV tech situation.

  3. As long as it’s possible for Joe Fan to see a replay that shows the officials made an incorrect call, credibility will suffer. It’s not enough to say “they’re doing a great job” or “they see the game a full speed.” I understand why Cheffers threw the face mask flag on the Lions, but it’s still the wrong call.

    In the last analysis, when fans see that a non-foul drew a flag, etc. there will be problems. The only solution is to give the referees access to the same views that the average fan routinely gets–and to be willing to make sure that the rulings on the field are in alignment with what they show.

    Alternatively, the NFL could ban TV from showing any replays–so the fans only see what the refs see. That’s never going to happen, so I think eventually they’ll wind up with increasing the use of replay.

    This is going on in hockey (my sport) right now, and it’s a good thing.

    As far as I can discern, the only arguments against this are logistical–the danger of slowing down the game too much. But surely the Mind of Man can devise some solutions to this–after all, we’ve landed men on the moon! It seems that what’s lacking is motivation, not ingenuity.

  4. Actually MV there are multiple times during a game where a penalty is called and there is no replay.

    Often it will be something like a hold that just happened to bring back a big play and the replay never happens.

    Other times the camera didn’t have the right angle to see it, we are told.

    But you are right…if someone can see it is obvious then fix it. Period. that doesn’t take the “human element” out of the game…it just adds to the technology already used.

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