NFL sets up rare conference call to review officiating blunders

As first reported by Jay Glazer of, the NFL has made a rare move by scheduling a conference call involving all the league's officials. The call will take place Friday, and the primary discussion point will be the wave of controversial calls made recently. Glazer brought up two calls that will likely be at the head of the agenda: The Ben Roethlisberger(notes) fumble-that-was-not-a-fumble call in the Steelers-Dolphins game, and the overturned Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) touchdown catch in the Vikings-Packers game.

Both calls have been ripped in the media, and though Vikings head coach Brad Childress was recently fined $35,000 for calling the Sunday night contest "the worst-officiated game I've ever seen" and revealing the content of confidential conversations with the league's officiating arm, the fact that those calls may have decided close games in each case is most likely the main reason for the increased focus.

First-year VP of Officiating Carl Johnson went over both of these calls on Wednesday's "Official Review" segment, the NFL Network's weekly conversation between Anderson and Rich Eisen.

Johnson said that the Roethlisberger play was properly handled by the officials on the field (another "good call/bad rule" situation in that the officials were tasked with clearly seeing a Miami recovery in this case, which is nearly impossible in the scrums you see after fumbles), but he did say that he wished the Shiancoe touchdown had stood instead of being overturned. There was no talk of the holding that the Vikings' offensive line got away with late in the game, but certain Favre-protection-related things will likely go unspoken into the future.

It will be interesting to see what is said in this conference call, and what the effects of the call will be. Here's my question: Why aren't these types of calls to go over blown penalties and rule review a regular (perhaps even weekly) NFL staple? We know that these guys all have day jobs, and that the league doesn't seem intent on making officials work full-time, but perhaps it would be possible to coordinate everybody's lunch breaks once a week so we're sure everyone's on the same page.

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