NFL clubs were notified that the NFL Competition Committee has unanimously recommended and Commissioner Roger Goodell has approved, a limited adjustment to officiating procedures for the 2015 playoffs. The change permits  communication between the referee and NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino – based in the league’s officiating headquarters in New York – regarding the correct application of rules in specific situations not currently
covered by the instant replay rule.

The specific language of the approved change states:

For the 2015 Postseason, consultation may occur between the Referee and the Vice President of Officiating or his designee located in the league’s officiating headquarters in New York regarding the correct application of playing rules. In addition to the VP of Officiating’s current role in Instant Replay, this consultation will only include the appropriate assessment of penalty yardage, the proper administration of the game clock, the correct down or any other administrative matter not currently reviewable.

This will not include the ability to call or change a foul or otherwise become involved in on-field judgment calls that are not subject to the current Instant Replay system.

“The committee feels strongly that giving the referee and Dean the ability to consult with each other in certain situations beyond instant replay will  further support officiating in the playoffs,” said NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay.  “The officials do a very difficult job exceedingly well and we think this adjustment in the playoffs will make them even better.”

Blandino and his staff in New York will not call or change a foul or become involved in on-field judgment calls beyond what is already part of the instant replay review process. Communication on administrative matters can be initiated either by Blandino or the referee.

Commissioner Goodell mentioned the concept for the playoffs with NFL owners at the December 2 league meeting in Dallas and said the Competition Committee was expected to make a recommendation shortly.

“We constantly strive to make our game progressively better for the players, coaches and fans,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. “This change will assist our officials with an additional resource for clarity and consistency in game administration.”

In other NFL News…

The NFL will conduct five Regional Combines beginning on February 13 in Houston, Texas and concluding on March 12 at the New Orleans Saints Training Complex in New Orleans, Louisiana. NFL Regional Combines, hosted throughout the country, serve as a supplement to the NFL’s National Scouting Combine and provide an opportunity for current draft eligible players to display their skills before veteran NFL talent evaluators.

“Combines have long provided draft eligible players with the forum needed to showcase their skills to NFL teams,” says Director of Football Development Matt Birk. “I know how important participating in combines was for my NFL career. It is our job at the NFL to provide this opportunity to any college football player that wants to chase his dream of playing in the NFL.”

NFL Regional Combines are conducted specifically for the following players:

•Position players eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft. The Regionals are only open to players who played college football during the 2015 season.

Regional Combines are hosted at NFL facilities. Players are tested and evaluated by experienced NFL scouting personnel and measurements, combine results and videos are compiled and entered into a database available to all 32 NFL clubs.

This event is part of the NFL Combine Series under the NFL Football Development platform.

Registration opened Monday, December 7. For more information, visit

The 2016 Regional Combines Schedule:
Date – Location, Facility
February 13 – Houston, Houston Texans Methodist Training Center
February 20 – Arizona, Arizona Cardinals Training Facility
February 27 – Baltimore, Under Armour Performance Center
March 5 – Minnesota, Winter Park
March 12 – New Orleans, New Orleans Saints Training Complex