The Baltimore Ravens have reportedly submitted a proposal for a major change to the current NFL officiating lineup. According to NFL insider Albert Breer, the proposal includes a plea to add an eighth booth official or “SkyJudge.” Backed by the coaches subcommittee, the idea was presented to the competition committee on Thursday. This proposal has been in the works for over three years now and is just coming to fruition.
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The official summary of the proposal is as follows:
“An eighth official on the crew, the proposed Booth Umpire can offer input from the booth throughout the game, with access to all broadcast angles via the NFL’s Hawkeye technology. Aided by replay and closeup shots, he can provide info to on-field officials to help correct any clear and obvious errors of consequence, provided he can do so without disrupting the normal timing of game administration.”
The coaches’ subcommittee hopes that this change will help improve competitive equity, the integrity of the game, pace of play, and player safety.
We did a story last May on it. The coaches subcommittee—a.k.a. the Madden Committee—has been working on this for 3 years. Made progress for preseason test run last year, then preseason got canceled.
Here's the piece from May on how they got there. ⬇️⬇️⬇️ https://t.co/KvJj7hPeWx
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 5, 2021
Test runs of this new system were supposed to take place during last year’s preseason, however, it was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The main reservation for this rule change is that it might slow down the games’ pace of play. If they can implement the rule in such a way that doesn’t affect the integrity of the game, it seems like a beneficial change. Having said that, the change could be a double-edged sword. Access to views from all over the field could only help the officials, however, it would have a significant change on the way the game was called.
If this concept is ultimately adopted by the league we are in for some major shifts in the way officials make calls. Hopefully, it is not a slippery slope and implemented in a way that is healthy and effective for the overall integrity of the game of football.
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