NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino told TheMMQB.com that starting this season, NFL officials will have an easier way to communicate with each other during games. The League has developed a communication system that allows the officials to talk when they’re far away from each other on the field.
“We’re going to implement an official-to-official communications system, so all seven officials can communicate wirelessly,” Blandino said. “Each official will have an earpiece, a microphone, and just a little radio pack where they can communicate in a closed system, encrypted.”
Officials can still huddle up and get together to discuss close calls. But the advantage to this new technology is that officials will be able to talk to each other just before the ball is snapped, to make sure everyone knows which players to be watching.
“We’ve tested this the last two years, and we feel it gives us better communication, more efficient communication pre-snap—when you’re talking about coverages, especially downfield when you have three downfield officials,” Blandino said. “Who’s covering what receiver? Now they read the formation, they decide which receiver they’re going to cover, but there’s no check and balance. They’re 30, 40 yards away from the other officials they might need to talk to. Now they can communicate. I’ve got the widest guy, I’ve got the second guy inside.”
It also helps that when there is a pass interference call downfield, the referee doesn’t need to run all the way to the other end of the field. He can just stay where he is and tell the ref what the call is.
There are still other issues up for debate at the league meetings. One of those topics is whether the owners will allow the league’s officiating office to assist the refs in determining instant replays. But the communication among the officials on the field will definitely be a much needed transition.
For more on this story visit: Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk