Two NFL teams have proposed the addition of a booth umpire to each officiating crew for the 2020 season, one of seven team-based rule changes that league owners will consider this offseason.
None of the proposals have been vetted or endorsed yet by the competition committee, which will meet later this month to discuss them and develop its own list of potential new rules. But the idea of a booth umpire, sometimes referred to as a “sky judge,” has circulated in the NFL for years.
Discussion intensified in 2019, when all 32 head coaches asked owners to consider adding it as a backstop to inaccurate calls on the fields. League leaders, however, did not think they could identify and hire 17 qualified sky judges in short notice last year. Instead, owners voted to add pass interference calls and non-calls to their list of reviewable plays.
The Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers formally submitted proposals for a booth umpire as well a senior technology adviser to assist the referee.
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