NFL to experiment with extra official on field, tablets for instant replay
During the second week of the NFL preseason, the league will be testing out two new procedures related to its use of officials: The NFL will have an extra official on the field and officials will use Microsoft Surface Tablets for instant replay purposes.
For 13 games this week, the NFL will use eight-person crews instead of seven-person crews, which has been the standard size since 1978. According to a statement released by the NFL, the eighth official is being brought on in an attempt to reduce "the number of times an official is responsible for multiple areas of the field that may not be in proximity to each other." ...
See the whole article here, courtesy of CBS Sports.
Kicking Back Comments: For those who read me often, you know I am no fan of tinkering with something that works, and frankly I think the NFL officiating works. I say this (please note without any experience in refereeing grid iron) there are an awful lot of officials inside the field of play during a game. In fact 24% of people inside the field are referees (22 players and 7 referees). That is a lot of officiating bodies in there. These folks seem to get it right an awful lot of the time.
Please know that while I feel that is a lot of referees, given the multiple "contact points" inside the field this large number may indeed be necessary. Then again, I thought the addition of end line officials in UEFA to assure if a goal had been scored was too much even in the face of recent events for The Game and the introduction of GLT.
Being handed a tablet however, I think is a bit gratuitous. I am sure part of this is a deal with Microsoft who will be supplying the tablet and service (and have ads all over the place) but the part about efficiency I am not seeing. In fact there was a bit of suspense in having the referee jog over to "the hood" and have a look. Broadcast would look at footage as well and folks would speculate. It was a great opportunity for everyone to play referee.
With a tablet I don't think we save any time and frankly I think it will look weird when a tablet bearer (they have to be nicknamed "Moses") comes out to present it and we all watch a referee, watch a tablet on a split screen. It may be more fun if we get to see the very same feed the referee sees ... or there is a url we can hit to see the same feed the referee sees. Hmmmmmmm. I would love to see what @DeanBlandino is seeing on game day.
Either way, I think this is a silly and unnecessary change to something that works already in context of the game. I find it hard to believe other than an opportunity for more marketing revenue, this serves any legitimate game enhancing need.