More Rule Changes
We discussed previously how the NFL make rule changes and last March’s Competition Committee meeting. At that meeting, there were some major changes, including centralisation of replay decisions in New York. However, some things weren’t finalised and were tabled.
Next week the Competition Committee meet again, however this time in Chicago. We are hearing that it is likely that the motion discussed at the March meeting to reduce overtime to 10 minutes will be put forward again and will be approved.
Whilst this will result in more ties, which is seen as a bad thing in the NFL, it is considered to be a good balance for the tough demands placed on players who may be playing extra downs on a Sunday and then face a shortened recovery before a Thursday night game. It will also help simplify the playoff tiebreakers too.
It’s not only on the field where changes are happening for the officials. They have a new boss after the sudden resignation of Senior Vice President Dean Blandino. New head Al Riveron and his team have a lot on their plate including the aforementioned centralisation of Replay.
In addition to that, they have some recruiting to do. They have ‘lost’ a number of on-field officials, some to retirement (Undrey Wash, Butch Hannah, Bob Waggoner, Tony Veteri and John McGrath) and others to moves into management positions (Rob Vernatchi and Doug Rosenbaum). It will be interesting to see how well Riveron is judged as the new officials are integrated into the faster moving professional game.
Then there’s the continuing view that the referees should be full time and how any changes would work as many of those have high-powered jobs outside football that they may not give up if push came to shove.
A New Season Already
Whilst there are still months to go until the start of the football season. The officials have now started theirs. May 15th is the official end of the ‘Dark Period’ where on-field officials are not contacted by the league in order to give them breathing space following the end of the previous one.
NFL officials started to arrive for their annual health checks in New York this week. Those deemed fit enough will meet later in the month in northern New Jersey for a mini-clinic and camp. New Senior VP of officiating, Al Riveron will hand out crew assignments and the officials learn the season’s policies and procedures.
The full NFL officials’ clinic takes place in the Dallas area in late July.
It is expected that there will be 124 officials on the roster for 119 positions. This gives five swing officials this season, more than usual. The NFL uses swing officials to move between crews each week to substitute for injured officials.
If the NFL also wants to hire a new official, they will have a veteran move to swing official for a season to get the rookie on a crew. Being a swing official is not a demotion, on the contrary, in order to move between crews and positions it takes a very good official.