Posted on

High-profile errors have NFL officiating under further review


By Adam Kilgore December 3 at 4:52 PM

Two decades in officiating have taught Dean Blandino to expect and accept criticism, a staple baked into the profession. Now the NFL’s vice president of officiating, Blandino understands the implicit pact referees make, that even perfection likely will enrage half the participants. He still has not seen anything like the siege NFL officials find themselves under this season.

“I’m not really too worried about getting fined: I thought those refs” stunk, San Francisco offensive lineman Alex Boone declared after the 49ers lost this Sunday to the Cardinals. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski tweeted his agreement with a reporter who opined officials had targeted Gronkowski for pass interference calls. Screenshots and Vines of missed calls circulate on social media every Monday morning, talking points as much as highlight catches and breakaway runs. Recently, a former NFL head coach called Blandino to tell him, “Hang in there.”

“It’s just indicative of how much interest there is in the NFL, and ultimately that’s a good thing,” Blandino said Wednesday in a phone interview. “I think a lot of it has to do with a couple mistakes in some high-profile games, and we certainly own those and we want to correct those. I think that has led to more intense scrutiny than ever before.”