At the NFL’s owners meetings in March, one of the big news items was that the league agreed to centralize its replay reviews. The final say on all calls would come from NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino in New York.
Those calls won’t be coming from Blandino after all, because he has resigned from his job.
According to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, Blandino is leaving his job at the NFL for a job with a television network. He’ll remain with the NFL through May 31. Blandino’s new job wasn’t specified, but it’s easy to see him settling into role explaining calls during game broadcasts like former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira has with Fox.
Blandino was promoted to VP of officiating in 2013, and his time on the job included some controversy. There was a lot of worry about the state of officiating, with many high-profile blown calls the past few seasons, though that will continue to happen no matter who is the NFL’s next head of officiating. People have complained about officiating in every sport since the beginning of sport itself. There was also the strange incident in which Blandino was seen apparently partying on Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ bus in 2014.
One thing Blandino did well was appear regularly on NFL Network, sometimes very late at night after prime-time games, to explain controversial calls and sometimes admit that the officials at the game made a mistake.
The NFL will have to figure out Blandino’s replacement, and whoever it is will be on the spot immediately due to the centralization of the replay process. That’s a huge step for the NFL, and now someone new will lead the process and make some very important game decisions.
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