Dean Blandino named college football's director of instant replay

Dr. Saturday
Dean Blandino was the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating before he stepped down in 2017 for a television job. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
Dean Blandino was the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating before he stepped down in 2017 for a television job. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

Dean Blandino now has a fairly prominent job in college football.

The NCAA announced Monday that Blandino has been named the director of instant replay for College Football Officiating, LLC. In that role, Blandino, the former senior vice president of officiating for the NFL, will serve as an educator for NCAA replay officials.

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Who is Dean Blandino?

Most recently, you know Blandino as the guy who pops up on the screen during replay reviews during NFL — and sometimes college football — games on FOX. While replay officials take a closer look at a play, Blandino joins the broadcast and chimes in with his knowledge of the replay process, gives his opinion on what transpired and offers his best guess on the impending outcome will be.

Sometimes Blandino gets the calls wrong and everybody on the internet has a good chuckle about it, but that didn’t stop the folks at CFO from bringing him on to provide his breadth of experience in the world of instant replay. Before joining FOX, Blandino worked for the NFL for more than 20 years before leaving the league in 2017 to be an on-air rules analyst for Fox Sports.

Blandino first joined the NFL in 1994 and rose through the ranks, eventually landing the role of senior vice president of officiating in 2013. His tenure in that position was not without some controversy. There were quite a few high-profile blown calls, especially with the never-ending confusion surrounding the catch rule (Dez caught it), that would often lead to Blandino explaining the minutiae of NFL rules on television later that day. There was also that time when Blandino was seen apparently partying on Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ bus in 2014.

What will Blandino do in college football?

Blandino will essentially serve as an educator — focusing on “off-season development,” the NCAA said — for college football’s instant replay officials. In the past few years, Blandino has worked CFO/NCAA national replay clinics as the NCAA aims to make the replay process more efficient and accurate.

“Dean emerged as the best candidate from a talented group of people interested in helping shape the future of instant replay in college football,” said MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, chair of the CFO Board of Managers. “His expertise and skills will help guide this important aspect of officiating.”

Added CFO national coordinator of officials Rogers Redding: “We are extremely fortunate to have Dean join CFO as our national director. He has a wealth of experience with instant replay, and his gift for teaching will add immensely to our training of replay officials. Dean’s deep knowledge base will enable us to be very strategic moving forward. I am very excited about the opportunity to work with him.”

What is College Football Officiating, LLC?

CFO was formed in 2008 by the NCAA and the Collegiate Commissioners’ Association with the hopes of “consistent application of NCAA football playing rules and officiating mechanics, establishing a central leader for officiating, enhancing the existing Division I conference officiating programs to ensure officials and conferences adhere to NCAA and CCA rules and policies and positioning the officiating community for the future in an attempt to present players, coaches and fans with the best experience possible.”

The organization is comprised of NCAA officials and conference (10 FBS, two FCS) commissioners. Redding, a Division I referee in the Southwest and Southeastern Conferences from 1988 to 2003 and the NCAA’s Secretary-Rules Editor for the Football Rules Committee from 2008 until September 2017, serves as its national coordinator.

Will Blandino still appear on television?

Yes.

The NCAA said that Blandino’s role for the upcoming season begins immediately and concludes at the end of August, allowing Blandino to continue with his broadcasting obligations. After the season, Blandino will return to CFO in January 2019.

“I’m extremely excited to join the CFO and NCAA in this role,” Blandino said. “I’ve spent much of my career in the replay space and look forward to continuing to improve our processes and programming with the ultimate goal of efficient — and correct — outcomes.”

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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