Last Sunday, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton complained that defenders weren't being flagged enough by officials for illegal hits, and he wanted to talk to the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the league's officiating.
The specific play Newton was probably complaining about was the late hit by Arizona Cardinals' Calais Campbell, who was reportedly fined afterwards despite no flag on the play. The NFL MVP said earlier this week that his talk with the commissioner was productive, and according to sources, the league may be acting upon these talks very soon.
According to Fox Sports, NFL senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said during an appearance on PFT Live on Thursday that the NFL might add another official and also expand replay reviews to try and protect quarterbacks even further than what they already are.
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Blandino said: “Well, you have seven officials and you have 22 players so you can’t just focus on one area. We have to look at several areas. ... (The referee) is looking right through and he can see the left tackle and he can also for the most part see the quarterback in that same line of vision, so he doesn’t have to turn his head.
"He should be able to see everything in his line of sight, but that’s something that we’re looking at. As we explore going to an eighth official, that would alleviate some of those other responsibilities for the referee and allow the referee to focus more on the quarterback. So that’s something that we’re looking at.”
The senior vice president of officiating also said that the replay review could also be expanded to help officials make the correct call for roughing-the-passer calls as well.
He said: "It’s certainly a possibility. It’s been discussed at length and anytime we have an opportunity to get the call right, we think that’s a good thing. In the way the technology has advanced we can introduce it and implement it more seamlessly in the game. So I think that’s something that is definitely a possibility; we’ll continue to look at it.”
Newton will likely be happy if these new rule changes come in, as it will bring him more security and safety while he is in the pocket. Hopefully, it will benefit the league as a whole as well and reduce the number of injuries to quarterbacks.