ORLANDO, Fla. - NFL officials, soon Big Brother might be watching you.
The competition committee has proposed to owners that the officiating system be improved through direct communication between on-field officials and representatives from the league's officiating department in New York.
Director of officiating Dean Blandino would be among those in direct contact with on-field officials if a call is subject to a replay review. As he explained Monday at the owners' meetings, Blandino and his staff would be able to review a play before the referee gets to the on-field monitor to look at replays. So Blandino could be communicating with the referee as he is walking toward the replay machine and give a heads-up about what replays showed.
"It's still a referee review, and he has the ultimate authority,'' Blandino said after a briefing to owners, general managers, coaches and other league officials. "We'll come to a consensus. It will be a discussion. We will have already started looking at it, and we can give him our input to put him in the position to make the right call and come to a conclusion.''
Blandino said the system would be used to improve consistency on reviewed calls from game to game. It would be somewhat similar to the NHL's system, in which officials at the league's Toronto office review replays of disputed goals and decide the outcome. The major difference in the proposed NFL system is that the referee would have final say on the call.
The NFL has consulted the NHL about its replay system.
"The NHL is a different game,'' Blandino said. "Their [system] revolves around goals. Our system is more inclusive with the number and frequency of plays.''
A minimum of 24 NFL owners must approve the proposed adjustment to replay. Votes on it and other proposed rules changes are expected Wednesday morning.
League scrutinizing Irsay. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is closely monitoring Colts owner Jim Irsay's situation. Irsay was arrested recently and charged with four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated.
Goodell said Irsay, who is being treated at an in-patient health care facility, is subject to discipline under the league's personal conduct policy.
"We obviously will want to understand the facts before we take any steps relating to any potential discipline,'' Goodell said. "But any policies, or any laws that are broken, whether you're commissioner, owner, player or coach, are subject to discipline.''