News

NFL expands playoffs to 7 seeds, but not necessarily to more officials

The NFL owners have approved expanding the playoffs to include number 7 seeds in each conference and adding 2 wild card playoff games starting in the 2020 postseason. The vote was taken by owners via conference call during what was to be their annual owners meeting in West Palm Beach, Fla., through April 1 due to travel restrictions and isolation measures due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league did not announce the number of votes, however there must be at least three-quarters of all owners voting in favor, or 24 owners. The vote strikes an optimistic tone in a barren sportscape that

Truncated offseason means less time to consider, vote on rule changes

Embed from Getty Images Updated 4/1/20 to reflect owners approving expanded playoffs As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to run it's dangerous course, it appears that there will be less, if any, traditional offseason time. Already, the in-person league meetings have been canceled. The owners could meet met via teleconference sometime this week, to vote on and approved expanding the playoffs by adding two wild-card teams. The league tentatively plans on an in-person business meeting May 19 and 20 -- if it is safe to do so. During that time, the league could vote on rules changes, including a vote on whether to make permanent,

#NFL100

NFL100: When John McDonough called The Longest Game on Christmas Day

It's always hard for officials to be away from home on a special holiday. So it was for referee John McDonough and his officiating crew, scheduled to work the Christmas Day divisional playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the visiting Miami Dolphins. McDonough, who officiated Super Bowl IV, and was a AFL and NFL referee from 1960 to 1973, lead a veteran crew that included umpire Frank Sinkovitz, head linesman Leo Miles, line judge Bill Swanson, field judge Bob Baur and back judge Adrian Burk.  The NFL had never scheduled a postseason game on Christmas. A few years before the

Mechanics

Working the official? Putting a bug in their ear? What exactly was Kyle Shanahan doing?

In this week's Inside the NFL on Showtime, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan can be seen and heard doing what's known as "working the official," that is, alerting the official to potential things an opposing team is doing or might do that is a violation of the rules. This can lead many fans and players alike to proclaim that a given official is in the tank for a given team or coach. That is not the case. Before each game at all levels, the officials will meet with the coaches of both teams. The purpose is to: Make sure all players are

Getting back on the horse: officials must focus on recovering from a bad game

Every official in every sport from the peanut league to the pros has had that moment. They come off the field to boos from the fans, glares from coaches, and dour faces from their supervisors. The official or crew has had a bad game. Whether it was one bad call in a big moment or the official or their crew didn't have it that night, it is an awful feeling. Officials are used to having fans, coaches and talking heads say they had a terrible game and made terrible calls -- that happens every week and game film almost always exonerates

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