Sunday, October 31, 2010

NFL to take a play out of the MLS playbook

I am shocked ... and this is not sarcastic play.
I am genuinely shocked.

The NFL just now is deciding to have a weekly conference call with its officials to discuss points of emphasis, as reported here by ESPN.

My very first reaction was, "you mean these guys were not doing this already?"

My very next though was how reactive this was given the several incidents that occurred in the last couple of weeks on the grid iron. My thoughts went then to the above though that I was surprised it has not been done before.

Wash - rinse - repeat.

Since MLS was around, referees, and in some cases ARs, have a weekly call to discuss the previous week, and to hear any additional points of emphasis for the following week.

It was not uncommon for an individual referee to have to explain an incident to the whole of the call as to what happened and the "behind the scenes" and why.

These were excellent calls, and I can speak from experience they were very humbling when it was my turn (yes I was indeed called on the carpet once) to stand up and explain how I screwed up and how it could be done better for the next referee.

Let me repeat, I am shocked the NFL is not doing this.

While I am at times critical of US Soccer, this is an area in which they shine ... and outshine the NFL. Instructional material.

For those who have not done so, visit the Week In Review, and poke around. Now THAT is instructional information. Paul, Herb, and the National Staff do an excellent job of preparing this information for general consumption.

So what compares for the NFL?

A simple recitation of the rules, no interpretation, no outreach, no nothing that I can see.

With the tens of billions of dollars that the NFL is worth, I am glad to see they putting some of that money to good use, and holding a weekly conference call for their referees ... now. Something the much less funded US Soccer and MLS has done over ten years ago, and continue to do today.

Better late the never I guess. I do wonder however what else the NFL can learn from MLS?

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