The NFL, stung by a rash of officiating mistakes this season, will alter its review procedures for the postseason to allow more communication during replays with league vice president of officiating Dean Blandino in New York.
The league notified teams on Wednesday of the change, which was approved by commissioner Roger Goodell.
Blandino will assist in applying “the correct application of rules in specific situations not currently covered by the instant replay rule.”
According to the new protocol, the referee will be able to consult with Blandino or a designee at league headquarters to assess penalty yardage, proper administration of the game clock, the correct down or any other administrative matter not currently reviewable.
Not included is the ability to call or change a foul or make on-field judgment calls that are not part of instant replay.
“The committee feels strongly that giving the referee and Dean the ability to consult with each other in certain situations beyond instant replay will further support officiating in the playoffs,” NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay said. “The officials do a very difficult job exceedingly well and we think this adjustment in the playoffs will make them even better.”
Communication between the league office and the referee can be initiated on the field or from New York.
“We constantly strive to make our game progressively better for the players, coaches and fans,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said. “This change will assist our officials with an additional resource for clarity and consistency in game administration.”