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As the NFL gets set to vote on potential rule changes for the 2021 season, there are two proposals for a booth umpire.
The Ravens set forth a proposal that would add an eighth member of the officiating crew based in the replay booth who would assist the seven on-field officials based on the available camera angles. The Competition Committee has proposed a watered-down version, that would simply expand the duties of the replay official.
During an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, Washington head coach Ron Rivera was asked if he supports the idea of a sky judge. Eisen did not specify a proposal when raising the question, but Rivera was clear that he’s in favor of some sort of change.
“I think whatever we can do to help and make sure we get it right, I think that’s important,” Rivera said. “And there’s still a lot of things that have to be worked out, and I know those will be things that will be discussed as we start having our meetings in the next couple of weeks as far as deciding whether or not that’s something we do on a permanent basis or for a trial basis.
“But I do like the idea of doing what we can to make sure we get it right, because it’s important. These games are important. It’s not like baseball or basketball where you have a number of games — we have a limited number. We now have 17 that you have to play and you want to win as many of those as you can. I think it’s important that you get them right. And if this helps us, then great.”
After the controversial non-call of defensive pass interference in the 2018 NFC Championship game — plus the continued rise of sports betting — it seems like it’s only a matter of time before the NFL adds a booth umpire like the Ravens proposed to ensure calls are right. But at least for now, the league could still adopt the Competition Committee’s proposal to improve the process.