The NFL had planned to experiment with expanded duties for replay officials during the 2020 preseason, with the possibility of adding all or some of those duties to the replay officials’ responsibilities during the regular season. With no 2020 preseason, that plan has been scrapped.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league will instead utilize intensive in-season study to identify situations in which the on-field officiating crew can request information from the replay official, without negatively impacted the flow of the game. No changes to existing protocols will be implemented.
This means that, officially, the NFL will revert to the same officiating procedures that existed in 2018, the season that led to a highly controversial NFC Championship featuring a missed call of pass interference that likely would have delivered a berth in the Super Bowl for the Saints. Unofficially, it will be interesting to monitor games for any sign of assistance of the on-field crew from the replay official or the league office, especially in games featuring crews smaller than seven, due to potential opt outs or outbreaks among the game officials.
Come 2021, the issue of providing on-field officials with local or global assistance will return to the forefront, whether through experimentation in the preseason (if there is one) or implementation in the 2021 regular season. Until then, football fans may have to tolerate more bad calls.
Expanded duties for replay officials won’t happen in 2020 originally appeared on Pro Football Talk