Battista: NFL Could Implement "Sky Judge"

Judy Battista outlined the advantages – and challenges – of adding a sky judge to NFL officiating crews

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 06, 2019 - 8:16 am
Tommylee Lewis Rams Saints NFC Championship Pass Interference

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After a controversial non-call influenced the outcome of the NFC Championship, many NFL fans and analysts have clamored for rule changes to prevent egregious officiating errors.

One of those possible rule changes? The implementation of a sky judge, which the AAF has adopted.

“It’s an eighth member of the officiating crew, he would be up in the box, and his role would be very clearly defined and very limited,” NFL Network insider Judy Battista explained on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “He would only have a few different kinds of plays that he could oversee: pass interference, roughing the passer, personal fouls – things like that. And he may only have jurisdiction at certain points in the game – maybe the last two minutes of each half, for instance. His job would be to just overturn egregious mistakes – egregiously wrong calls or egregiously missed non-calls. We’ll see if that has support to change a rule.”

Rules cannot be changed without at least 75 percent approval from owners (24 of 32).

“That’s a high bar,” Battista said. “It’s very tough to get to. But that is the concept – the sky judge – that they left Indianapolis with that they’re investigating more. I think the competition (committee) will probably put forward that idea to the ownership in March.”

Even if owners support a sky judge, the devil is in the details: Who will the sky judge be? What calls can they make? When can they make them?

“That person, in some ways, is going to be more powerful than the referee,” Battista said. “He or she could overturn egregiously wrong calls. That’s got to be a really experienced official, somebody they trust. It’s hard to find those. That was a big question: Where will they get them? Will they take him off the field? That weakens the crew that’s on the field. Do you really want to do that? That’s one of the complicating factors.”