After the unexpected departure of Dean Blandino, the NFL was left scrambling to find his replacement. With the hiring of Alberto Riveron per NFL.com, that search is now over.
“Al has done a terrific job as a key member of our officiating staff for the past four seasons, To have Al leading our officiating department… is a tremendous positive for us as we look forward to the 2017 season.” – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
Alberto Riveron has been an NFL Official since 2004 and in 2008, he was promoted to Referee, the first Hispanic to assume that role in NFL history. Even with Riveron’s experience though, it seems like the NFL needed to hire three men to replace Dean Blandino.
Russel Yurk, who has seven years’ NFL replay experience, was promoted to be the new replay Czar. Wayne Mackie, with 10 years’ officiating experience under his belt, will now be in change of officiating the officials.
It still begs the question as to why Blandino needed to be replaced to begin with.
I was at the NFL Owners Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona in late March and I can tell you that Blandino resigning two weeks later came as a shock to NFL owners and executives. Many of the comments I heard about the new replay rules, which were being voted on at the time, centered around Dean’s experience in handling the new rules. It was obvious to anyone hearing these comments that Blandino had the experience and integrity for the role.
Can the NFL maintain the faith in the system that fans have?
Mike Freeman, of Bleacher Report, wrote a piece about why Blandino left for broadcasting.
In Freeman’s piece, Amy Trask, Former Raiders’s CEO, had this to say.
“Confidence in the integrity and quality of officiating are of paramount importance to the league…I have said this with respect to full-time officials and I will say this with respect to filling Dean’s position—the league can’t afford not to spend whatever it takes to instill confidence in fans.” – Amy Trask
Based on what I heard at the NFL Owners meeting, I wonder how many owners and executives feel the same way after being blindsided by Blandino’s resignation.
To further that, can the NFL front office put its full weight behind supporting these men? Can they avoid marginalizing them, and interfering with their decisions? These are important questions that could very well hold the key to everyday fan’s belief in the integrity of the game.
Let hope for everyone’s sake they don’t get thrown under the bus the way Dean Blandino felt he was.