NFL enhances officiating for playoffs

The NFL is making minor adjustments to communication between officials on the field and league headquarters for the playoffs.

The NFL announced on Wednesday a change to their communication and application of rules between on-field officials and the league offices in New York for playoff games this postseason.

While Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, or his designee won’t be able to change or implement a judgment call on the field, the new procedure permits communication between the referee and league headquarters regarding the correct application of rules in specific situations not currently covered by the instant replay rule. The referee or league headquarters can initiate the communication.

The consultation will only include the appropriate assessment of penalty yardage, the proper administration of the game clock, the correct down, or any other administrative matter not currently reviewable.

“The committee feels strongly that giving the referee and Dean the ability to consult with each other in certain situations beyond instant replay will further support officiating in the playoffs,” said Rich McKay, the NFL’s Competition Committee chairman. “The officials do a very difficult job exceedingly well, and we think this adjustment in the playoffs will make them even better.”

The communication won’t allow league headquarters to call or change a foul outside of the existing rules already in place with instant replay.

The concept of enhanced communication between the on-field referee and league headquarters came to the forefront at NFL meetings on Dec. 2.

“We constantly strive to make our game progressively better for the players, coaches and fans,” said Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, in a release by the NFL. “This change will assist our officials with an additional resource for clarity and consistency in game administration.”

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