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(EDITOR'S NOTE: To access the Dean Blandino interview, click on the following attachmentEp 76: Fox Sports Rules Analyst Dean Blandino Joins | Spreaker)

Officials are under fire this season, and stop if you’ve heard this before.

Except this season the outcry seems louder and longer than ever, from the Chargers’ Joey Bosa complaining that “refs are blind" ... to Bears' safety Tashaun Gipson saying that "you don't know if you can be happy" ... to Seattle coach Pete Carroll contending that the NFL’s emphasis on taunting has “opened a can of worms that we don’t like.”

The complaints aren’t new, but the subject is. And the subject is taunting.

Every week someone somewhere believes he has been unfairly accused, with Raiders’ tight end Darren Waller the latest. Waller was penalized last Monday for spiking a ball after he made a sideline catch.

“I didn’t think that was necessarily done in a malicious way,” FOX rules analyst Dean Blandino, the NFL’s former head of officiating, said on the latest “Eye Test for Two” podcast ( “I didn’t think it was a foul. But it’s the coaches’ sub-committee that brought this to the competition committee.

“The sub-committee works with the competition committee, (and) Andy Reid is the chair. John Harbaugh, Brian Flores, Mike Vrabel …there are other coaches that are part of that. They are the ones that were pushing this emphasis on taunting and felt that sportsmanship was kinda lacking with this stuff that was directed at your opponent. So the committee puts this point of emphasis in, and then it’s on the officials to apply it.”

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And that’s where the problem begins. As Paul Simon once said, one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. What one officiating team may consider taunting, another may not. Result: Anger, not unlike that directed at officials last year for the use of replay reviews to judge pass interference – a one-year experiment, since rescinded, of the league’s competition committee.

“They really put the officials in a tough spot,” Blandino said, “because you want your officials to use discretion. They understand the difference between taunting and the normal trash talk, the normal emotion. And It feels like -- at least initially – that this point of emphasis has taken some of this discretion away.

“So if it looks like taunting that’s a flag. And that’s tough. Because the officials…. If you give them that discretion they’re pretty good at figuring out what is and isn’t a foul.”

J.C. Tretter, president of the NFL Players Association doesn’t necessarily agree. In fact, he said he would support the removal of the taunting rule immediately.

“I wouldn’t,” Blandino said. “Player safety and sportsmanship have always been the two pillars as you think about rules and others things in my years with the competition committee. Maybe what J.C. is thinking is: Let’s emphasize it less, and let’s not be overly technical in this area.

“(But) I think you still need to have the rule in place; it’s just how you apply it. You give the officials the discretion, and they’re really good. In my experience you tell them, ‘Look, you have something that’s clearly directed at an opponent.’

“The language in the rulebook talks about – and I always remember it --- ‘engendering ill will.’ That was always a statement that stuck with me … Somebody gets a ball thrown in their face; now they retaliate. And now we have an altercation.

“So you still need the rule. I just think that maybe we can pull back on the emphasis and give the officials a little bit more discretion. And then I think we could get to a good place."