Perhaps at the expense of his wallet, Indianapolis Colts team owner Jim Irsay has an idea to remedy the recent highly suepect, game-altering calls we’ve seen from NFL officials:
URGENT NFL/COLTS NEWS:— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) October 25, 2023
#5 QB Anthony Richardson’s surgery today in LA was a success! It was a long procedure and his shoulder injury has been repaired. No new surprises were found during surgery - they just repaired what was expected. Anthony is doing well and thanks everyone…
You’ll have to click on the ‘Show More’ in the tweet, but Irsay proposes that all calls are reviewable within the final two minutes of a game.
It seems like a simple fix without bogging down the flow of the game too much with pauses for review—and highlights the critical importance of the last few minutes of any NFL game.
Give the booth the option to review highly questionable calls late in games.
However, as ESPN’s Stephen Holder notes, it may be unlikely to pass if actually proposed given the subjective review of such calls:
Committee chair Rich McKay in 2020: “We were always fearful of putting a totally subjective play into replay.”— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) October 25, 2023
That’s the issue. Replay can determine if someone has possession, steps out of bounds, etc. But determining clear visual evidence of a judgment call is problematic.
Of course, Irsay has been extra incentivized as of late to push for such a competition committee rule change this offseason, as he just saw firsthand how egregious officiating late in a game cost his Colts a surefire win—as cornerback DJ Baker Jr. was called for two highly, highly questionable illegal contact calls.
As Irsay notes, the league has since privately admitted its mistake on the two calls, which is notable, but that still doesn’t do anything for the Colts playoff hopes come season’s end—having had a win replaced with a loss against a potential AFC wild card competitor.
Officiating is a tough and often thankless job, as those referees don’t have the benefit of instant replay in real time where plays can develop in fractions of seconds, so let’s try to make their lives a little easier late in games—and ultimately, get it right, which is the goal.
Irsay may end up being fined for making the league’s normally private conversations regarding its officiating public.
However, at the end of the day, I’m not sure he’ll really care about the monetary consequences given what was taken away from his team in such shocking fashion:
The NFL communicates with teams on a weekly basis about various calls. Team officials are prohibited from commenting publicly on those discussions. Now, a team owner has publicly said the league admitted to officiating mistakes. Stay tuned …— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 25, 2023