NFL won’t discipline officials for latest Monday night mistakes
Earlier this year, a pair of Monday night officiating errors resulted in extra discipline from the league. The most recent Monday night game, which included a pair of officiating blunders, will not lead to a similar outcome.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL will not suspend or reassign any of the officials from referee Gene Steratore’s crew for the inadvertent whistle during a Patriots offensive play or the faulty decision to keep the clock running after Bills receiver Sammy Watkins caught a pass and rolled out of bounds with two seconds left in the game.
Following a Monday night game in San Diego, side judge Rob Vernatchi was suspended with pay for a week after failing to notice that 18 seconds accidentally had been allowed to run off the clock before the final offensive drive by Pittsburgh. Likewise, back judge Greg Wilson was reassigned away from a Sunday night game between the Patriots and Colts after he failed to call an illegal bat on Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright during a Monday night game between Detroit and Seattle.
As to the latest Monday night mistakes, the NFL said this regarding the officials, in an email to PFT: “Their performance was evaluated, just as it is for officials every week.”
In the aftermath of the Vernatchi and Wilson punishments, PFT reported that the NFL and NFL Referees Association were talking about adopting a specific formula for imposing suspensions with and without pay for officials who make mistakes. That process wouldn’t be launched until 2016.
For now, it appears that the NFL has decided not to continue to take specific action against officials who make mistakes, beyond the grading process.