By Bill Bradley, contributing editor
Dean Blandino's job as vice president of officiating will become a lot more hands-on this season.
As part of a new rule passed during the NFL Annual Meeting in March, Blandino will participate in replay reviews with referees via fiber-optic technology in the NFL's command center.
"I'm excited. I think it's something that's going to help in eliminating some potential mistakes and be more efficient," Blandino said Tuesday during a break in the NFL Rookie Symposium. "I'll be in the office at NFL Gameday Central and we'll be able to communicate with the referee during a replay review."
Blandino and senior director of officiating Al Riveron will be involved in the process during all NFL games.
"In terms of trying to standardize some of the decision-making and making sure our referees are going to adhere to the proper standards while they're making calls, I think that we'll improve the process," Blandino said.
The command center is not new to Blandino and Riveron. They were there for every NFL game last season, looking at plays for use in tutorial videos and grading referees live. After all, it's where the league monitors every second of every game.
The difference this season is Blandino and Riveron will be interacting with the referees, advising them as the officials look at replays.
"Nothing will change in terms of where we are, but it's just now we will actually be an active participant in the replay review," he said. "We're looking forward to it.
"Before, you're kind of a very interested bystander. Now we get to be involved in the game."
Blandino pointed out that this is a rule change and not a one-year experiment. However, he said they will evaluate the process during the offseason.
"We're looking at upgrading our entire replay system," he said. "As we look at 2014 and how it goes, that's going to help us in taking a new direction in terms of upgrading the system."