Brookover: How to reduce officiating errors
Complaints about officiating are coming from all corners of the NFL. Carolina's Cam Newton is sick and tired of taking hits that should be flagged. Carson Wentz took one, too, in the Eagles' loss to the New York Giants last Sunday.
Complaints about officiating are coming from all corners of the NFL.
Carolina's Cam Newton is sick and tired of taking hits that should be flagged. Carson Wentz took one, too, in the Eagles' loss to the New York Giants last Sunday.
Washington cornerback Josh Norman was fined $25,000 this month for declaring that field judge Brad Freeman serves the same purpose as a vacuum cleaner.
Buffalo coach Rex Ryan left the field at halftime Monday night in Seattle fuming after a sequence of bumbling officiating events that led to a missed field goal by Dan Carpenter. New Orleans coach Sean Payton has protested that the officials need to abandon their full-time jobs and make calling NFL games their only line of work.
The question is this: What should be done to make it better?
Let's start with the premise that the guys calling games now are the best in the business. We discovered that in 2012, when replacements handled or, to be more precise, mishandled the first three weeks of the season.
"In my opinion, the constant thing officials should be battling is keeping the game fair and honest while at the same time not being noticeable," Eagles center Jason Kelce.
That would be a utopian NFL, but in an age of high-def replays from multiple angles it is inevitable that officiating mistakes will be caught on camera and discussed ad nauseum, especially when they result in or cost a team a big play, points, and maybe even the game.
Payton's solution of full-time officials sounds good, but you have that in other sports and mistakes still happen. Dean Blandino, the league's senior vice president of officiating, has said the league could consider adding an eighth official next season in order to more closely monitor illegal hits on the quarterback like the ones Newton has complained about. Again, mistakes will still be made.
The best solution is a revised and expanded replay system.
Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews advocates replay for all penalties of 15 yards or more.
"They should take a look at them the way they look at every touchdown now," Matthews said. "Those are the ones that can define a game. You call pass interference and it's not even close, they should be able to go back and review it. If it's a five-yard offsides or a 10-yard holding, let that ride."
Safety Malcolm Jenkins, the Eagles' player representative, is not in favor of having all pass interference or personal fouls reviewed.
"The last thing we need is something else to slow the game down," Jenkins said.
He would, however, consider reviews of major penalties in the final two minutes of a game.
The answer is that common sense needs to prevail.
Replay officials are already in place at every NFL game and the replay system in the league's Manhattan office is elaborate with league employees monitoring every game. The days of coaches challenging calls with red flags and referees going under hoods need to be over. It is not Doug Pederson's job to correct an officiating mistake. The replay official and the guys watching in New York should make that their primary objective on every play. If they see something questionable, stop the game and take a look at it.
How many times have we seen an NFL game go to commercial for a challenge that could have been resolved in 15 seconds?
I agree with Kelce and Jenkins that every call cannot be reviewed, but I also believe that replay officials and guys watching in New York should be able to review and overturn egregious mistakes like some of the hits on Newton and the botched sequence of events in the Seattle-Buffalo game.
I also like the idea of making all major penalties reviewable in the final two minutes.
All of these things are worth debate, and the players should take a keen interest and have some input on these issues when the season is over.