The officiating during the 2017 NFL season was questionable, to say the least, and while there was at least one missed call during Super Bowl LII, the instant replay reviews delivered correct results.
With instant replay being a fiasco for the majority of the season, many people expected the officials to botch one of, if not both reviews during the Philadelphia Eagles’ win over the New England Patriots. However, the zebras appeared to get both calls correct, going against a season’s worth of evidence that the officials would get too technical and overrule the call on the field.
So what was behind the NFL’s efficient officiating in Minneapolis? FOX analyst Mike Pereira said on The Talk of Fame podcast that he believes commissioner Roger Goodell instructed the senior vice president of officiating Alberto Riveron to make a change in how replay is handled.
“I tell you, I talk to enough coaches and enough members of the competition committee that they weren’t happy,” Pereira said, via CBS Sports. “So I think the word trickled to Goodell and Goodell probably sat down with Alberto, who he has a great amount of respect for, and just said ‘Hey, you gotta realize here, you gotta make an adjustment, you’re being too technical.’ And they probably did listen to not only me, but to (former VP of Officiating Dean) Blandino, who was the guy making the decisions. And when he criticized them, something had to be askew. And that’s to me when it probably started to turn.”
Pereira said he believes the change came with somewhere around five weeks to go in the regular season and was constant throughout the playoffs. He noted that he believes the change had the officials in New York focus on sticking with the call on the field unless there was an egregious mistake, rather than trying to determine what the original call should have been.
Goodell has said the NFL plans to look at its catch rule this offseason, along with other officiating issues. But if Super Bowl LII was any indication, it appears he might be on track to fixing instant replay.
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