I think it’s been said many times and ways that the officiating in the NFL is bad. This thread is not about that. In fact, I think it’s worth checking out a video from 5 Point Vids (a Giants fan tbf) who did a video about the science about bad officiating. I think it will help understand why officiating has it’s issues. One of the big issues that is mentioned is the vantage point and the lack of use of technology. After all, the refs are human. They only have two eyes each for a crew of about 6-8 refs on the field. So, that’s about 12-16 eyeballs that are on the field that have to be able to make the calls. That’s basically where this thread comes into play. This thread will examine a few ways to improve officiating. Most of these will be tech solutions as these are the best ways that I can think of to help.
- Put a chip into the ball – football is a game of inches, and where the refs spot the ball makes a massive difference between a TD, first downs, Turn over on Downs, etc. Sometimes, as was the case in the Rams Steelers game or on the Hurts scramble against us, the refs might not be able to tell, based on an angle, where the ball was when the knee hit. If the ball had a chip in it, then there could be a signal that gets sent to the replay booth to show exactly where the ball was when the knee hit. Thus, when a player is in a pile, then they just have to match up where the chip is compared to the knee. This should make spotting the ball much easier. Besides, in European Football/soccer, the match balls have a chip in them to help the refs to be able to know if the ball did indeed cross the line. They can do something similar in the NFL.
- Make penalties/plays where a penalty could be called reviewable – this doesn’t necessarily mean that a coach would have to challenge it, though this could be useful if the refs don’t pick it up. Rather, similar to how the refs will be told quickly by the replay officials that a turnover should be quickly overturned, they can be told quickly by someone with a controller who can quickly spot an infraction on a replay. For example, when Schoonmacher was hit prior to the ball getting there, the hit could be part of the review so that they can make the correct call based on the entirety of the play, as opposed to just reviewing the parts that they can review with the current rules.
- Make the refs full time – this would help because, as opposed to having the refs have side jobs, they can spend their offseasons getting better and honing their craft. They can attend seminars where they can focus on certain aspects that they may not be able to focus on at this time.
- Better technology for replays – the replay speed in the XFL and USFL is impressive compared to the NFL. If you have watched an XFL game, you’ll notice that they have people with an Xbox controller who can zoom in and do all kinds of different things in a rapid time to spot different things in a replay. Pat McAfee has pointed this out several times on his show. I think using some of the technology the XFL uses would help improve the NFL because all aspects of the play could be more rapidly reviewed. This means that they are able to review the play and get back to play more quickly. Thus, the concern for questionable officiating can be reduced because the technology used is better able to help the refs make the right calls.
The NFL makes hand over fist weekly. Surely they can afford these techniques if even the XFL is able to afford it. I think these methods would help improve officiating immensely.