It appears that the NFL has had enough with a strain of controversial on-field officiating calls.
FOXSports.com has learned that the league is having a conference call Friday for every member of every officiating team. The purpose of the call is twofold, according to one officiating source — to serve as pep talk, but also to clean up mistakes by the officials.
Sources say a conference call of this nature is rare — if not unprecedented — to have all of the officials involved.
Two high-profile Week 7 rulings may have initiated the conference call.
In a game against the Dolphins, the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger scrambled out of the pocket and lunged for the end zone late in the fourth quarter. The ball was knocked loose near the goal line and the officials ruled that Roethlisberger had scored a touchdown.
However, a Dolphins player emerged from the end-zone scrum with the football. A replay review determined the ball popped loose before Roethlisberger reached the end zone, and the Dolphins believed they had a touchback. But since the officials initially ruled that Roethlisberger had scored, they didn’t monitor who recovered the ball because it was no longer in play.
Another play in contention is Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe’s apparent touchdown catch in Week 7’s 28-24 loss to the Packers.
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 Vikings coach Brad Childress openly criticized the game’s officiating, drawing a $35,000 fine from the NFL.
Carl Johnson, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, was not happy with the entire incident. “We wish the ruling on the field would have stood as a completed catch,” Johnson said this week on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access.”