With the NFL Annual Meeting taking place this week in Orlando, Fla., there will be a lot of chatter about proposed changes and new rules, most of which won't actually lead to change this season.
One thing that will change during 2014 is the way in which refs communicate. NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told TheMMQB.com's Peter King on Sunday that the on-field officials won't have to run around the field to talk to each other anymore.
"We're going to implement an official-to-official communications system, so all seven officials can communicate wirelessly," Blandino said. "Each official will have an earpiece, a microphone and just a little radio pack where they can communicate in a closed system, encrypted."
With today's technology, it makes sense to save time -- for instance, on a pass interference call down the field -- and make communication between refs easier prior to plays.
"We've tested this the last two years, and we feel it gives us better communication, more efficient communication pre-snap when you're talking about coverages, especially downfield when you have three downfield officials," Blandino said. "Who's covering what receiver? Now they read the formation, they decide which receiver they're going to cover, but there's no check and balance. They're 30, 40 yards away from the other officials they might need to talk to. Now they can communicate. 'I've got the widest guy, I've got the second guy inside.'"
The refs could still huddle if necessary, but the quick, push-to-talk communication should help the pacing of the game.
The bigger issue that will be discussed this week is moving closer to a centralized replay system that could really get NFL games moving along.