Report: NFL to Conduct 'Top-Down Review' of Officiating Following 2019-20 Season

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2019

Referee Scott Novak (1) in action during an NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

The NFL is reportedly planning a "top-down review" of the league's officiating during the offseason.

Judy Battista of NFL Network (h/t Pro Football Talk) reported the league will examine numerous ways to improve officiating, including the person in charge of replay reviews. Senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron currently handles those duties from the league's command center.

The NFL has made numerous changes to its officiating policies in recent seasons, most notably allowing for coaches to challenge pass interference penalties. Those challenges have largely been unsuccessful, with officiating crews only overturning the most obvious of mistakes.

Poor officiating was in the spotlight multiple times in Week 14, most notably in losses by the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. The Patriots were the recipient of multiple bad breaks against the Kansas City Chiefs, including a potential defensive touchdown on a Travis Kelce fumble in the third quarter and N'Keal Harry being ruled out of bounds on a clear touchdown reception in the fourth. 

Bill Belichick was out of challenges so could not contest the Harry ruling. The Patriots had used their final challenge to overturn the ruling that Kelce was down by contact and were given the ball at their own 43-yard line.

The Dolphins were incensed about a pass interference non-call against cornerback Nik Needham that was overturned by review, setting up the New York Jets for a game-winning field goal. Dolphins coach Brian Flores chased after the officiating crew to let them know his displeasure after the game, and Needham said the call was "trash" after the contest.

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