Say what you will about the responsibilities of the NFL’s vice president of officiating, but the league felt it needed three men to handle the job previously held by Dean Blandino. The NFL has hired Alberto Riveron to be the new senior V.P. of officiating and Russell Yurk to head up the NFL’s replay department. Wayne Mackie has also been hired to be the NFL’s vice president of officiating evaluation and development.
Riveron is a former on-field official for the NFL and was the league’s first Hispanic referee. Riveron will oversee the NFL’s entire officiating process, including the instant replay system, although it will be Yurk who will be the league’s officiating authority over all instant replay situations. Yurk will assume command in the league’s gameday instant replay center in New York and will be in communication with replay officials in each NFL venue. Yurk is a veteran in the instant replay game with experience with the NFL’s replay system and seven years of experience as an on-field ref in the NCAA and high school levels.
“Al has done a terrific job as a key member of our officiating staff for the past four seasons,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a released statement. “Prior to that, Al was an outstanding on-field official who earned the respect of his fellow officials, as well as coaches and players alike.”
Mackie’s responsibilities will be to constantly evaluate the league’s officials, essentially keeping them in line and helping to improve the overall quality of the league’s officiating as best he can. Officiating is always coming under a microscope, and the more and more angles and video images we get of calls missed or botched by officials on the field and in replay. Having someone in the league office dedicated to reviewing the issues we see pop up on a weekly basis with the intent of correcting those measures is a solid decision for the NFL, so long as Mackie follows through on the mission.
The hiring of these three individuals suggests the NFL wants to take steps to improve the quality of play, and in this case, it appears three heads are better than one. That’s not a bad way to go about it, and the hope is the impact it has takes effect relatively quickly. Hiring three new people divides the responsibilities each has, which should allow each to focus more on their specific objectives rather than have one guy attempt to juggle so many tasks.
“Al, Russell and Wayne are a team dedicated to delivering the highest quality of officiating and game administration in professional sports,” NFL Executive VP of Football Operations Troy Vincent said in the league’s announcement. “The structure of their responsibilities will provide us with a sustainable model for greater efficiency, improved performance from our officials, and operational excellence in collaboration, development, and training of our officiating team.”
Blandino left his post in the NFL to pursue a TV position.