NFL considering 8th official, expanding replay to protect QBs

George Gojkovich / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The NFL will leave no stone unturned when it comes to protecting quarterbacks.

Speaking on NBC Sports Radio's "PFT Live" on Thursday, senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said the league is exploring adding an eighth official who would provide more focus on the signal-caller.

"Well, you have seven officials and you have 22 players, so you can't just focus on one area," Blandino said. "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 league may also expand its use of replay review in order to get a finer look at roughing the passer penalties.

"It's certainly a possibility," Blandino said. "It's been discussed at length, and any time we have an opportunity to get the call right, we think that's a good thing. ... I think that's something that is definitely a possibility, we'll continue to look at it."

The purpose of replay expansion would be to increase the focus on player safety. Last year's MVP, Cam Newton, has been vocal in his belief that he hasn't been protected by the league's current set of rules.

"I don't know if reviewing every holding call or every illegal formation call is the right way to go," Blandino said, "but certainly player safety is a good starting point and that's something that will be discussed on the offseason agenda."

NFL considering 8th official, expanding replay to protect QBs
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