NFL looks at adding “booth umpire” and tech adviser for refs

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2019, file photo, referee Bill Vinovich, left, field judge Mearl Robinson (31), umpire Bruce Stritesky (102) and line judge Mark Perlman (9) walk to the sideline after a play during the second half of an NFL football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Los Angeles Chargers, in Jacksonville, Fla. Save the outrage for something else. NFL officiating wont get any better this weekend, or anytime soon _ because it cant. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2019, file photo, referee Bill Vinovich, left, field judge Mearl Robinson (31), umpire Bruce Stritesky (102) and line judge Mark Perlman (9) walk to the sideline after a play during the second half of an NFL football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Los Angeles Chargers, in Jacksonville, Fla. Save the outrage for something else. NFL officiating wont get any better this weekend, or anytime soon _ because it cant. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The NFL is considering adding a “booth umpire” and a senior technology adviser to the referee to assist the officiating crew.

The league also is looking at other rules changes, including an alternative to the onside kick.

NFL clubs received a list of potential rules changes on Thursday. Owners will vote on the proposals at the upcoming league meeting to be held by video conference on May 28.

The league’s competition committee told teams last month it supports studying ways to determine how officiating personnel who have access to a video feed could help on-field officials. A booth umpire would serve as an eighth game official.

If owners don’t approve adding a booth umpire and/or a senior technology adviser, the league could test a version of both rules in the preseason for possible future implementation.

The proposal that would give teams another option instead of an onside kick permits a team to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play. The kicking team would attempt a fourth-and-15 from its 25-yard line. This could be done a maximum of two times per game.

Onside kicks have become infrequent — and hardly ever successful — since the NFL changed rules on alignments for kickoffs.

Other rules changes that’ll be discussed: