- The Washington Times
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The NFL has filled the vacancy left by former Senior Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino, who announced that he was leaving the NFL last month. 

Alberto Riveron, who has been in the league’s officiating department since 2013, will take Blandino’s old post. 

Riveron, who is from Cuba, was the NFL’s first Hispanic referee beginning in 2008. In 2012, he joined the league office as senior director of officiating.

It seems the league decided to get him some help. When the NFL posted the job online in April, it was stunning to see an enumeration everything Blandino had been responsible for, including instant replay, logistics, development, public relations, rules changes, and communication with the league, 32 teams, NCAA, referee’s association and players’ association. Perhaps as a result, the league created two new positions to spread out some of the responsibility.

Russell Yurk was named vice president of instant replay and administration, and Wayne Mackie was named vice president of officiating evaluating and development. Yurk will have some responsibilities related to training and assigning referees for games, but will mostly lead the league’s instant replay operations in its GameDay Central room in New York. 

At the NFL Owners’ meetings this offseason, the league voted to take instant replay duties away from on-field referees and reassign them to league office personnel in New York. The referees will still be able to conference in and provide input, but York’s crew will have final say. 

Mackie will lead the team that grades officials every week and be responsible for training and development.  

“Al, Russell and Wayne are a team dedicated to delivering the highest quality of officiating and game administration in professional sports,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. “The structure of their responsibilities will provide us with a sustainable model for greater efficiency, improved performance from our officials, and operational excellence in collaboration, development and training of our officiating team.” 

Splitting up some of Blandino’s old duties may help the officials as they transition to a centralized review system. It probably won’t stop anyone from complaining about the officials, though.

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