NFL officiating has come under fire from fans, media, players and coaches throughout the season — most recently from Aaron Rodgers, who believes the best officials have left the game for broadcasting jobs.
During Wednesday’s annual press conference with Roger Goodell ahead of the Super Bowl, the NFL commissioner pushed back against the officiating critics and defended the state of the game.
“When you look at officiating, 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 can occur on any play. Take that out or extrapolate that. That’s hundreds of potential fouls. Our officials do an extraordinary job of getting those. Are there mistakes in the context of. That? Yes, they are not perfecting and officiating never will [be].”
The officiating came under fire in the AFC Championship Game, particularly during a moment in the second half when the Chiefs were give the opportunity to replay and third-and-9 after failing to convert because the game clock was running when it should not have been.
The Chiefs were essentially rewarded a do-over and were able to convert on the second chance, although the drive still ended in a punt.
“Communication between our office, that is not the case in the championship game,” Goodell explained. “That was stopped appropriately, because the clock was running, by the official on the field. That happens frequently in our game. That is not an unusual thing to have that happen.”
Goodell also pointed to other factors, such as the technological advances in broadcasting making it easier for fans to spot penalties or potential wrong calls that the officials would not normally catch.
“The quality of what we see on our broadcast, you’ve never been able to see the kind of things you can see today,” Goodell said. “You see it in super slow-mo and see it where you can stop it. Sometimes that distorts a call, potentially, [but] reality is our officials are held to an incredibly high standard and I think they meet it. Will we try to get better? You betcha.”
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