NFL commissioner Roger Goodell backed the quality of the league’s officiating during his press conference Wednesday.
“I don’t think it’s ever been better in the league,” Goodell said. “There are over 42,000 plays in a season. Multiple infractions could occur on any play. … That’s hundreds, if not millions of potential fouls. Our officials do an extraordinary job of getting those.
“Are there mistakes in the context of that? Yes, they are not perfect and officiating never will (be).”
Goodell also disagreed with the idea that television networks hiring former officials has diminished the quality of officiating on the field.
“Are we losing people from the field to the booth? There are some that never even officiated on the NFL field,” Goodell told reporters. “So, we didn’t lose anyone. We may have lost some from our office, but we didn’t lose them from officiating on the field. Others are taking on that responsibility at the end of their careers. So, I do not think that’s a factor at all.”
Criticism of officiating was rampant following the conference championship games in January. On one play, the Kansas City Chiefs received an additional opportunity when an unsuccessful third-down play was replayed due to a clock error. In the NFC title game, a reception by Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith was ruled a catch, though replay later showed it should have been incomplete.
Goodell noted that advanced replay technology affects the perception of calls made on the field, though he said the league would always attempt to improve officiating.
“I think we all have to realize through the quality of what we see on our broadcast, you’ve never been able to see the kinds of things that you can see today,” Goodell added. “Sometimes that distorts a call potentially, but the reality is our officials are held to an incredibly high standard. Will we try to get better? You betcha.”
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