GREEN BAY — The rule change Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy presented to give the NFL officiating department final say on replay reviews was overwhelmingly approved at this week’s owners meetings in Phoenix.
NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino and his New York office will now make the final determination on contested plays with the on-field referee able to give input through a headset and hand-held device.
The change means referees no longer will be required to run to a sideline monitor to view the play under the hood. Murphy said the increased efficiency was something that appealed to teams.
“Having the tablets rather than having to see the referee run all the way over to the monitor and go under the hood should speed up the process up quite a bit,” said Murphy, who serves on the NFL Competition Committee.
Murphy said there “wasn’t a lot of debate” about the rule proposal. The biggest question teams had was how the league office would handle Sunday noon games when the most teams are playing and the probability of simultaneous replays is highest.
The consensus was Blandino and his officials would have enough staffing to handle the potential of “two or three replays” occurring at the same time.
Murphy doesn’t foresee much conflict between the referees and NFL office since the two sides already have been in communication on game days since 2014.
“The league, they’ve had this communication between the referees and New York office and they feel pretty confident that there are the numbers there that they need,” Murphy said.
“I think coaches have confidence in Dean Blandino. His office is doing a good job. It’s a hard job, but they’re doing a good job. I think the improvements – you should have more consistency and the reality is it’s not that much different.”
Other changes approved by the NFL Competition Committee included:
-Players no longer will be permitted to leap over the line of scrimmage at the snap on PATs and field goals due to concerns over player safety.
-Receivers running a pass route are given defenseless player protection.
-Made permanent the rule put into place last year that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
-Touchbacks on free kicks will be placed at the 25-yard line for one year.
-Made crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped.
-Made it unsportsmanlike conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.
-Made actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.