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Time to Add a Video Official to NFL Officiating Crews?

NFL: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Bad calls in sports have been part of the deal from the get-go, and the NFL is no exception. Most postseasons include a couple bad calls that may have made a difference in the outcome of the game - and therefore which team advances in the playoffs. Such has been the case again this year.

What makes most bad calls all the more intolerable (unless your team benefits), is that they’re obviously bad calls - or bad non-calls - from the first replay for all in the stadium and TV audience to see.

Except the referees.

In many cases, a call or non-call is not reviewable and so the game continues regardless.

There is an obvious fix.

The NFL could add a video official to each officiating crew. That official would watch the game and replays from the booth, and communicate any bad or missed calls to the crew on the field. In many/most cases this may not take much longer than when officials have a conference on the field about a particular call. In some cases an official timeout may be necessary.

In any case the video official would monitor the game and replays and communicate with the field crew when there is a clear and obvious error.

This may also eliminate some of the coaches challenges, and/or allow the officiating crew to review them faster.

Overall, on the downside there is the chance adding a video official slows down the game - depending on how many obvious officiating errors are made - but this was true about the current video reviews and coaches challenges before they were adopted.

As near as I can tell, negative fan reaction about slower games due to video review hasn’t been a big issue. I think most fans view it as a worthwhile trade-off to get the call right.

So, given the available technology and need, it would seem the time has come for a video official to be part of an NFL crew.

The question is, will the NFL make the change?


Should the NFL add a video official to their officiating crews?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Yes - will help eliminate officiating errors
    (429 votes)
  • 30%
    No - not worth it
    (184 votes)
613 votes total Vote Now