Interviews for Walt Anderson's replacement start next week

Walt Anderson is out as the head of NFL officiating. Who will be in?

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, interviews for the job will commence next week.

It's the NFL's most important in-season position during football season. Anderson was ultimately responsible for conducting replay reviews for all games.

He also was the only in-house voice to explain calls made and not made. The league didn't use him in that role very often, however. (Once upon a time, the league made the V.P. of officiating available on a weekly basis to discuss the big calls of the weekend that was.)

Once last year, Anderson appeared suddenly and randomly on Monday Night Football to explain a fairly inconsequential non-call of roughing the passer in a game between the Raiders and the Lions.

To the extent the league is dealing with perception issues arising from legalized gambling and the game's connection to it, it's critical to have someone who can make great decisions in real time — and who can and will explain tough calls persuasively and transparently.

As we've said before, the NFL should bring back Dean Blandino. While they're at it, the NFL should incorporate the UFL's open-book approach to officiating discussions.

That's the way to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the game. Especially in an environment that has prompted many to suspect that there's a strategic reason for the secrecy.