When the NFL decided to implement instant replay reviews for pass interference calls, the decision was met with wide approval and faith that the league would get most decisions correct after reviewing the plays in question.
Just kidding. Fans and media alike doubted the league’s ability to effectively rule on questionable calls of that variety, and they were largely proven right. Too often, obvious and significant contact was deemed not to be PI on review, despite clearly affecting a receiver or defensive player. Effectively, the league’s threshold for reversing a call (or non-call) made on the field was astronomically high, so high to the point that the NFL might as well have never made those plays reviewable in the first place.
So with that one-year experiment concluded, where does the league go from here? Indications out of the 2020 NFL Combine are that there is a major shakeup coming in the officiating department. What that will look like and what impact that will have is to be determined, but the league is evidently looking to do something to respond to the vast swaths of fans who were dissatisfied with the officiating across the league.
Now if we could just go to a college-style system where we no longer have to rely solely on coaches’ challenges outside of the last two minutes of each half, we’d really be in business.
Here’s that story and much more in today’s Curds.
Change is coming to NFL officiating - Why the league needs to act fast | ESPN
Packers president said that last year's officiating changes were "not great," and the league is trying to shake up the leadership in that area. Veteran (and formerly retired) referee Walt Anderson is already coming back on with the league in a new role, with current head of officiating Al Riveron likely not being fully in charge when the 2020 season starts. Keep an eye on former executive Dean Blandino for a possible return engagement with the league.
Packers allow online registration for Brown County game-ticket lottery | Green Bay Press-Gazette
There's good news and bad news of course. Yes, it will be easier to sign up for the lottery, but there will also be fewer tickets made available, down to 2,500 for each game.
Sources -- Jaguars to trade A.J. Bouye to Broncos for fourth-round pick | ESPN
Perhaps it is the expected labor peace that is driving teams to start making moves now for the 2020 season. This is the first notable trade agreed upon this offseason, though it cannot go through formally until the start of the 2020 league year on March 18th. Bouye will count for $4 million against the Jaguars’ cap next year with a charge of about $13.5 million for the Broncos.
Mock drafts sending WR Denzel Mims to Packers after dazzling combine | Packers Wire
Astute Packers fans were already identifying Mims as a possible Packers draft pick before the Combine, but after his performance in Indy it may take the 30th pick to get him instead of number 62.
Finally, before our bonus curd of the day, Matt LaFleur spoke one-on-one with Packers broadcaster Larry McCarren to break down the upcoming season. Note in particular that he mentions tight end Jace Sternberger as a player who will have a much bigger role in 2020.