Conference Call With All Refs Today
The NFL has scheduled a conference call with every member of every officiating team, FOX Sports' Jay Glazer reported Thursday on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access." An officiating source told Glazer that the purpose of Friday's call is to give a pep talk and clean up mistakes by officials. Sources say having all the officials involved in the call is rare, if not unprecedented.
The conference call comes on the heels of two high-profile officiating decisions in Week 7.
Late in Sunday's game between the Steelers and Dolphins, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger scrambled out of the pocket and lunged for the end zone. The ball was knocked loose right around the goal line, but the officials ruled that Roethlisberger had scored a touchdown.
Unlock HQ Video HQ video delivered by Akamai
A Dolphins player emerged from the ensuing end-zone pileup with the football. When the ball was determined on replay to have come out before Roethlisberger reached the goal line, Miami believed it had a touchback. But since officials initially ruled that Roethlisberger had scored a touchdown, they didn't bother to see who recovered the ball, because it technically was no longer in play.
Pittsburgh was awarded the ball on the Miami 1-yard line and went on to kick a go-ahead field goal and hold on for a 23-22 victory.
The second controversy came in the Sunday night matchup between the Vikings and Green Bay Packers, when Minnesota tight end Visanthe Shiancoe made a diving grab in the end zone and appeared to secure the ball as he rolled onto his back. Officials ruled the play a touchdown but overturned the call on review. Minnesota settled for a field goal and lost 28-24.
Vikings coach Brad Childress publicly criticized the officiating in the game, then was fined $35,000 by the NFL.
Carl Johnson, the NFL's vice president of officiating, wasn't happy about the reversal of the Shiancoe catch.
"We wish the ruling on the field would have stood as a completed catch," Johnson said on Wednesday's "NFL Total Access."
League spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted a statement later Thursday, downplaying the implied meaning of the call.
"It's a routine part of Carl Johnson's expanded communications program for officiating," he wrote. "It's a follow up to their preseason clinic. There will be another conference call near the end of the season before the playoffs. It is like team meetings."