Richard Sherman went way beyond the norm for an NFL player off the field. Again.
The Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback took to a keyboard to push the discussion of NFL officiating beyond players merely complaining or at least shaking their heads over some of the calls in games this season. Sherman wrote in the latest edition of Sports Illustrated’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” four ways he says the league could improving officiating.
This week the league announced it was opening more ways for Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president for officiating, to communicate with referees during playoff games on all rules interpretations, even those not covered by the league’s current system of instant-replay review and coaches’ challenges.
“...the NFL is going about this the wrong way (shocker),” Sherman wrote on MMQB.
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“If someone like Dean Blandino is trying to remotely micromanage a game from a different state, you run the risk of prolonging an already long game. There will be communication breakdowns, the same way there are communication breakdowns on a regular basis in NFL stadiums between people who are merely hundreds of feet apart.”
Sherman states at the top of his piece and reiterates throughout he thinks game officials do overall outstanding works in extremely difficult jobs making split-second decisions.
But he also offers four ways to make officiating better:
1. Simplify the rules, especially on defense
2. Add an eighth official on the field
3. Reconfigure the positions those eight officials stand and for which they are responsible on the field, with more downfield for pass-interference decisions, what Sherman calls “the most important calls in football” because of the huge chunks of yardage involved in the spot-foul penalties.
“With this configuration, you’d eliminate conversations like the one I had with Terry Brown, the field judge in our Nov. 15 game against the Cardinals,” Sherman wrote. “I was called for pass interference in the second quarter and when I went to him for an explanation, he said, ‘I really didn’t see much, but from the way the receiver’s body moved it was a foul.’”
4. Improve communication between officials and players
Instead of just playing the game and then fuming over the officiating, Sherman has taken a step to try to improve the system. We’ll see if anyone at the NFL is listening to -- or in this case, reading -- him.