NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told USA Today there’s a misperception surrounding referee performance this season.
Blandino owned up to a number of notable officiating mistakes this season, but said there has been a resulting disconnect between public perception and the actual number of missed calls during games. He said on average, between four and five missed calls have happened per game each of the past few years, and that this season, there are an average of 4.5 mistakes per game, in line with the league’s numbers.
“We've had some mistakes that have happened in high-profile games and it’s drawn a lot of attention and that's created a narrative that officiating isn't as good as its been,” Blandino told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “Those high profile mistakes, we own up to them. We've got to correct those issues, but in our view, it's not much different than what we've had in years past.”
Blandino added in the interview that he would like more officials to be employed full-time by the league. He says the league will continue to discipline officials as needed, based on performance.
“... Game administration, penalty enforcement, rule application, clock administration, those are the areas we have to be perfect in, and those are things we can control,” Blandino said. “It's the judgment calls that we know, it's a human element to this and we're never going to be perfect in all of those judgment calls. The game is too fast, officials have one look at it in real time and then they're evaluated from multiple angles with high definition and slow motion replay, and that adds to the perception.”
- Jeremy Woo