The first official night of action in the Alliance of American Football is in the books. Personally, I thought it was pretty enjoyable. I caught the first half of the game between the San Diego Fleet and the San Antonio Commanders, and I think the league is off to a pretty good start. The on-field product is well ahead of what the XFL was when they gave this a go, and there’s one particular aspect of the game that the NFL should adopt at their first available opportunity.
Each AAF officiating crew has a replay official that’s up in the booth, as the NFL does. The difference with the AAF is that the replay official in the booth is mic’d up, and when a play is being reviewed you get an opportunity to listen to the replay official go through what they’re seeing in determining whether or not to let the call stand or overturn it.
There was an example of this from each game, so let’s take a look at each of those.
Was swamped with the Commanders game so just now seeing this. Incredible detail to see. The AAF has a future as a breeding ground for things like this. pic.twitter.com/esaBJYh6fH— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) February 10, 2019
In the AAF: Sky judge tells field judge what’s the ruling on the field during a replay review. You even get to listen in. pic.twitter.com/nir4eT2BNq— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) February 10, 2019
I loved this. This would be incredibly easy for the NFL to implement, and I think it would be completely embraced by the fans. We often talk about how officials are never held accountable for the bad calls that happen on the field, and there are times when even after a review, crews manage to get a call wrong. Going to a format like this for the NFL would give us a “behind the curtain” look at things, and it would immediately help in holding officials accountable for bad calls.
Unless, of course, the NFL doesn’t want that level of accountability. . .and, honestly, would you be surprised if that were the case?
The AAF appears to be off to a good start, and as far as I can see there’s at least one thing that the NFL needs to work into their game ASAP.