A Fun Solution to the NFL’s Officiating Problem

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From the Arrowhead Guys Fanposts, AG member Tyrone proposes an interesting solution to the atrocity that is NFL officiating.

A Fanpost by Tyrone

This is a random idea that I started thinking about as a result of the refs almost blowing the Chiefs-Chargers Monday Night game (not that the Chiefs needed much help with that). I’ve come up with a system (and by system, I mean a few jumbled thoughts that popped out of my head), where the NFL is punished for bad calls, and the affected teams are compensated. Since they can’t seem to get the calls right during the games, even now with seemingly every other play being reviewed, and changing the results of games after the fact not being an option, I’ve got a “solution”.

Premise: Not all bad calls are equally damaging.

Embed from Getty Images

Under this proposed system, a team who gets screwed by a bad call submits their particular grievance to the NFL to be logged for later review. A team can lodge a maximum of, let’s say, 10 calls each per season. At the end of the season (Say, after the Super Bowl) a panel of experts (Who? I don’t know.), or maybe the fans, or some combination of both votes on the severity of each blown call.

The severity of the call is determined by a number of factors including:

·         How egregious the mistake was

·         The impact on the result of the game

·         The impact of the result of the game on the season

·         Any other miscellaneous implications

For example, the decision to stop the clock near the end of the Chiefs-Chargers Monday night game was pretty clearly bad, but it didn’t end up having a huge impact, since the Chiefs still won the game. If the Chargers had scored a TD there and won the game with under 20 seconds left that call would have been rated much worse. The Saints-Rams non-PI call from last year’s NFCCG would have been on the extremely high end of the scale. It arguably cost the Saints a Super Bowl berth.

The benefit of doing it this way is that it takes the decision making away from the NFL, and puts it in the hands of people who are more in touch with reality and who aren’t trying to cover their own asses all the time.


The penalties and compensation are fines and draft picks. For very low end mistakes, the league may be fined $100,000 with the money going to the affected team’s salary cap. As the severity of the errors increase so do the financial penalties, which may go up to a few million dollars. Once the blown calls start getting so bad that fines aren’t enough, that’s when we start involving draft picks. These would work in pretty much the same way as Free Agency Compensatory picks, except they would not max out at a third round pick.

Going back to the Saints-Rams NFCCG non-PI call, the restitution for that mistake would be something in the range of $5 million ($3 million of that being added the team’s salary cap for the following year, the remaining $2 million being a cash payment) and an end-of-second-round draft pick.

Why is this a Good Idea?

The purpose of this system is twofold:

1.       Hold the league accountable for bad officiating in the hope that it will trigger some sort of change to improve things.

2.       Compensate affected teams. You can’t retroactively change the results of games, so if a team was unfairly penalized, give them an advantage next season.

Now, obviously this would never, ever happen for a number of reasons, the most obvious reason being that the NFL would have to implement it, and they would never implement something that allows them to look bad. There are also better options for “fixing” the officiating. In my opinion the entire culture around officiating is broken. It needs a complete rebuild from the ground up. Again, I don’t know if that is something the NFL will ever do, but until that happens fans will rightfully distrust the officiating of games.

So, with all that in mind, what would the compensation for the Triplette forward-progress call be?

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12/09/2019 8:54 am

fascinating …

11/29/2019 7:56 am

Nicely done. Def a topic to be taken seriously these days. On the other hand 😂, so good on you for a not unreasonable proposal. My only observation is awarding a team an additional draft pick penalizes other teams making those teams innocent victims. But man that Lions-Bears game yesterday seemed at times like a flag fest with some football thrown in.

11/26/2019 5:22 pm

While I agree with Tyrone that officiating is broken – and his fictional proposed solution is an entertaining read, as well -, I’m still of the opinion that the source of the problem is not the referees. You could replace every last one of them in one offseason and the inconsistencies would still exist because the source of the problem is at the League level, not the refs level.

Back in the day there were bad calls made, sure, but officiating was pretty consistent across the league. With the advent of replay review there were a few seasons where those types of bad calls were minimized, but unfortunately the NFL’s gotten into the habit of depending on the reviews to minimize any mistakes they might make, which has made them sloppy and careless. Couple that with a constant stream of rule changes and it’s become impossible for the refs to all get on the same page in how the games are called.

Back in the day the refs were basically unknown as individuals and crews, and names only came up when really bad calls got made. These days crews are viewed as teams that must be analyzed as to how they call a game, because they each call things in a different way, and the subtle differences can have the biggest impact. The only way this can be corrected is to give them a period of time where the rules are stable, say for 3-5 seasons, as the starting point. There are other things that could and should be done to that end, but you have to start from a stable foundation or whatever you build will fall apart. I guarantee it.

Kudos to Tyrone for an excellent article, even if I did besmirch it with my own opinions, lol.

11/26/2019 12:58 pm

refs can’t even call a touchdown without a conference let alone a PI call.
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11/26/2019 11:33 am

and they would never implement something that allows them to look bad

Which is exactly why the refs are playing hardball on the pass interference stuff. I’ll admit that in years past it has always seemed that when a receiver did not make a catch, every single fan and most of the team “hand gestures” for throwing a flag. It became such a freaking trend that it seemed like the refs started throwing flags on everything. Now when they are not throwing flags, they can be challenged. It seems like the refs are in open revolt. They can influence the outcome of a game in any way they want and it actually hurts teams. Remember a couple years back on Thursday night against the Raiders?

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