The NFL has been quietly crafting rules that will force the league’s top officials to reveal their attendance records for the previous five seasons, with the goal of helping the league establish a precedent that officials can be held accountable for a record-setting performance in 2018.
In a statement to NFL Media, NFL Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff acknowledged that the rule change is “one of the most significant changes to the officiating that we have ever implemented.”
That means officials will be required to publicly acknowledge their official attendance records.
Officials can be fined for the omission.
The NFL also plans to change the way its officials handle replays of games, to reduce the amount of time required for them to record replays.
The league is also looking to increase the length of time that replay officials must wait to announce their official record, to make it easier for them not only to report a replay error but also for players to challenge a ruling before the official has a chance to record a second or third review.
The goal is to prevent officials from “getting caught up in the moment” by announcing a new official record.
The rule change was announced on Monday during a news conference with the league offices of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and league President Troy Vincent.
“We have a lot of work to do in terms of the overall transparency of officiating, but we have the power to make changes in terms the speed of these changes and the transparency,” Demoff said.
“Our goal is always to make sure we’re always looking at these changes with the highest priority.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday he’s open to the idea of having referees report their official records on replay, but that it’s important for officials to understand their duties and responsibilities.
“The officials are responsible for the integrity of the game, and it is their responsibility to report their records, so they are going to be responsible for making sure that they report,” Goodell said.
The change came on the heels of the NFL announcing that referees will be permitted to record all replays on game-day broadcasts, including replays that are reviewed by the league.
Demoff noted that it has been a “tough adjustment” for officials in terms how they handle replicas.
“I know that there are a lot more players than officials,” Dem.
“[But] we’ve all been in the league, we all know how important it is for officials.”
NFL Commissioner Troy Vincent said the league was “absolutely” open to allowing officials to report replays, but there was still “work to do.”
“It’s not an easy thing to do, but it is what it is,” Vincent said.
Dem Off said the rule was not the result of a change to the league-mandated replay system.
“It was something that was coming from our leadership team that wanted to be sure that we were moving forward in the right direction in terms that we would be able to report our records on a replay, that we could get that information back to the refs, so that we’re not just sitting back and watching replays when they’re in the booth,” Dem Off added.
“That’s something that we want to be a part of every day.”
NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle said that it was important to provide the NFL with the tools needed to help the league be more transparent about officiating.
“When you’re looking at this in the context of a whole bunch of changes that are happening to the game and to officiating in general, it’s a little bit of a puzzle to make sense of, so we’re really excited about this and we’re very confident that we can do this,” Rozelle added.