NFL officiating is a mess. Now a few things are out of the NFL’s control when it comes to fixing it. First of all, we almost never collectively watch TV shows together as a culture. Trying to find someone that is watching the same show as you at the same point of the show is like finding a needle in a haystack. So when we all collectively watch Monday or Thursday Night football, things tend to get a little weird.
But there are a few things the NFL and fans can do to prevent officiating from being a full blown PR and competitive crisis.
- Accept officiating perfection is impossible - If you had to make a series of snap judgements affecting millions of dollars and with many more eyeballs watching in your life, it probably wouldn’t go well either. The job of being an official is technically difficult and impossibly thankless. No one grows up wanting to be an official who’s last name isn’t Hochuli so try and appreciate the degree of difficulty and accept that mistakes have always and will always be made by officials/referees/umpires across all sports forever and ever.
- The NFL needs a higher threshold for its basic officiating standard - Mistakes are inevitable but mistakes can’t be consistent and/or egregious. The NFL needs a stronger internal system for referee accountability. I don’t believe public accountability is necessary because the public can’t be trusted with that information. Its like admitting to your kids every time you make a parenting mistake; they’ll quickly start using it against you. On the other hand, you can’t be brazenly bad in your job and still keep getting them NFL checks.
- Networks need to stop hiring former officials - They are usually the best ones, hence the job opportunity but they really doing anyone any favors. Before the trend of hiring top notch officials, we were mostly left to guess at penalty and rule interpretations. Now we are reminded in black and white every week why the call on the field was right or wrong. Speaking of which…
- The NFL, and everyone else, needs to hire Mike Pereira. Pereira should be allowed to concurrently work for the NFL, FOX, CBS, ESPN and the NFL Network. His title should be Officiating Overlord. He’s the only one who has mastered all elements of all the various jobs and should speak with one voice on all matters of officiating and be paid a billion dollars in the process. And he'd still be underpaid.
- GET OVER IT - As mentioned in #1, there is no solution that leads to officiating nirvana. Mo’ replays, mo’ problems as the old saying goes. A skycam judge will be expected to correct every mistake, which literally could happen every play. An extra official will just lead to more flags. We need less replays on TV, no challenges and football to be played like its 1993. But that’s never going to happen. So get over it and enjoy the show.