The 2022 NFL season has been filled with plenty of drama as always, but also controversy owing to on-field officiating. Several examples of calls (or non-calls) made throughout the campaign could lead to significant changes this offseason.
Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports writes that the appetite for an increase in video replay could be growing relative to the past few seasons. Two options proposed in recent years include additional challenges being allowed during a game (or at least expanding which types of plays are made subject to review), and the addition of a ‘sky judge’ to assist officials. Support for the latter lost steam in 2020, though that offseason did see another attempt to increase communication between on-field and replay officials.
NFL EVP of football operations Troy Vincent said at the most recent owners meeting that there will be a “healthy discussion” involving the competition committee this spring. He added, however, his aversion to giving replay officials the ability to call fouls which are not made on the field, saying that such a development would not be “in the best interest of the game.” The support (or lack thereof) for significant alterations could come from the impact reviews make in the remainder of the campaign. Per the NFL rulebook, the 2020 and 2021 seasons were unprecedented in that they saw more than half of plays subject to review overturned.
Here are some other NFL housekeeping notes:
- Another matter which is likely to be discussed in the spring is roughing the passer penalties. Some owners expressed an interest in making it subject to review in the future during last month’s meeting (video link via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero). One important detail to be worked out in the event the league goes down that route would be whether or not replays become initiated automatically or via coach’s challenges; another would be the question of if roughing the passer could incur automatic ejections, an idea which was brought up in December. As Pelissero notes, however, trepidation is expected on all fronts due in part to the unsuccessful one-year experiment with making pass interference reviewable.
- Providing an update on the NFL’s international schedule for next year, EVP Peter O’Reilly confirmed (via Pelissero, on Twitter) that plans are currently in place to play three regular season games in London, two in Germany and none in Mexico City. That falls in line with the league’s stated plans for 2023 unveiled in the wake of the first ever game played in Munich. Renovations will prevent contests taking place at Azteca Stadium, but a return there in the future – along with continued expansion of the international series – should be expected.