Officials may have been alerted to penalty by Tony Romo’s comments

Michael David Smith
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

The NFL does not have a “sky judge,” the oft-proposed official who watches the TV feed of the game and tells the officials on the field anything they missed. But Tony Romo may have served that role during Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

With the Titans’ defense on the field late in the fourth quarter, Romo mentioned on the CBS broadcast that Tennessee had 12 players on the field. Initially, the flag wasn’t thrown. But after a delay, it was. Romo mocked the officials for how long it took them.

“There’s a flag which they should have called 10 minutes ago when I said there were 12 people on the field. I think they just decided to start talking about it now: ‘Can they play with 12?’ ‘Nope, it’s 11.’ ‘You’re sure?’ ‘Yes. Can’t play with 12. We’ve still got that rule,'” Romo jokingly narrated as the officials discussed the play.

Former NFL referee Terry McAulay, now an officiating analyst for NBC, wrote on Twitter that it looked like the New York officiating office got in touch with the referee on the field after Romo pointed out the missed call. That’s a violation of the league’s policies, but it’s an open secret that it sometimes happens.

“If they want to officiate from ‘above’ then change the rule and do it,” McAulay wrote.

It doesn’t speak well for the officials that Romo saw the penalty before they did, but sometimes someone in a booth with a monitor has a better view of the field than the officials have. Perhaps it’s time for the NFL to add an official in a booth with a monitor.

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