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Nov. 25, 2020

#19 - Dean Blandino - Fox Sports Rules Analyst


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On this episode of Missing the Point, we sit down with Fox Sports, NFL, and NCAA football rules analyst and former NFL VP of officiating and XFL head of officiating Dean Blandino on what it's like to be an official and inside look at some of the biggest plays in the last 20 years, the emergence of Sarah Thomas as the first female referee in the NFL and yes, we asked about the Dez Bryant play...

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Transcript
Craig D'Alessandro:

On this episode of missing the point, we sit down with Fox Sports NFL and ncaa football rules analyst and former NFL VP of officiating Dean blandino on what it's like to be an official and inside look at some of the biggest plays in the last 20 years the emergence of Sarah Thomas as the first female referee in the NFL and yes, we asked about Dez Bryant play but first This episode is being brought to you by box Oh crafts box Oh was an arts and crafts focus kit subscription box box Oh was apparently a company that combines creativity and convenience in one monthly package delivered right to your door. Box. Oh smear box box. Oh holidays contains four separate art projects to get you and your family into the holiday spirit. Whether it's Halloween, Hanukkah or Easter. They've got you covered with holiday fun. Box. Oh, we can't wait to see you create check out box Oh craft calm and exclusively to our listeners. enter the promo code MTP for 15% off your first order. That's b o x o crafts calm, promo code and TP missing the point is a one hour weekly to our monthly podcast recapping the biggest stories in the world of sports with the New England flavor. The show notes and transcript of today's episode can be found in the description box below, as well as on our website MTP show.com. If you're new to the show, consider subscribing. It's the easiest way to see when we publish new episodes. We are on iTunes, Spotify, Google and wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to rate us and leave review of any of our shows. We always appreciate your feedback. Also, be sure to follow us on all of our social medias. All of our links will be in the show notes and check out our brand new website WWW dot MTP show.com that's MTP show.com. And now this is missing the point. But it's all relative.

Michael Marcangelo:

Welcome everyone to Episode 19 of the MTP podcast I am your host Michael Mark Angelo as always joined alongside the real BK Bob Kelly and Broadway Joe Malkin. And today we have an extraordinary guest. He is the former head of officiating for the xfl. He previously served as the NFL is vice president of officiating from 2013 to 2017. He's currently an analyst, a rules analyst for the NFL and NCAA on Fox. And most importantly, he's a stand up comedian. We have Mr. Dean blandino. d, thank you so much for joining the show. And how you doing?

Dean Blandino:

I'm good. I'm good. Former stand up comedian. I don't anymore. But sometimes when I talk about officiating, maybe, but yeah, I'm doing well doing well. How are you guys doing?

Unknown:

Really? Well.

Michael Marcangelo:

Yeah, thank you so much for taking the time. We have a lot of questions that we want to kind of ask you and topics to, to go over. And I think you know, you have been whether you know it or not. And I don't mean to get weird. You have been a very integral force of our lives for the last probably 27 years since you were an intern in the in the NFL. And then you you know, took up the instant replay. So I guess I want to ask first and foremost, what got you interested in joining the NFL as an intern?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah. Well, I didn't have any fishing experience. It wasn't something that I was interested in. I played football, love the sport, loved all sports, baseball, hockey, basketball, and I grew up in New York, I went to school in New York and like all the major right, professional sports, have an office in New York City, and had a communications degree had a background in TV production wasn't sure what I wanted to do with that. And I just took a shot in the dark and sent my resume to the NFL and Major League Baseball and NHL and the NFL called dad a couple of internships available. And I went in and interviewed for a few of them. And one was in officiating. And they they called me and offered me the position. I was like, Yeah, definitely. And and then kind of just went from there started learning officiating being an intern. And it just my career kind of progressed from from that point.

Michael Marcangelo:

Yeah, I mean, I guess I guess so. Because typically, you don't get you don't land a career with one of the one of the most popular now the most popular, you know, sports out there. And you've been involved in football, obviously, since since 1993. Obviously, you know, I'm a huge wrestling fan. I think you've been at a couple of wrestling shows as well. You've been part of the xfl. What would you say some of the differences are between what you've done in the NFL and what you were building in the xfl?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, I mean, the xfl was, so it was such an amazing experience. And I still get upset when I talk about it because of what happened, you know, was doing so well. And, obviously, how do you prepare for a pandemic, but what was so Cool about the xfl was the ability to start fresh and just create something and look at the rules from a different perspective, have the ability to kind of pull the curtain back a little bit and be able to, to shoot what's happening in the video in the replay booth and hear what the officials are saying and all those things. So, the xfl I mean, I started from the NFL, and that's always going to be you know, a big part of my career, and I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the NFL, but the xfl was such a cool experience. And I'm hopeful that they're going to come back in the spring of 22. And, you know, with with Danny Garcia and the rock, Dwayne Johnson, Bob,

Michael Marcangelo:

yeah, yeah. Honestly, honestly, like when I heard that the rock and and and Danny bought that. My first thought was, I hope that they keep what was happening this past season. The same because, you know, the first version of the xfl was was so gimmicky it was WWF football right now, it felt like they were kind of getting things right. And they were they were taking the aspects of football that we liked from the from the NFL and bringing it on and presenting it in a whole different way. I loved I know everyone else on the show did I love the fact that you could hear the coach's conversations with the quarterback. Like that's, that's something that I wish that they would do in the NFL. Are there anything? Is there anything that you think that the that the NFL will take away from xfl 2.0 this time?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, well, I they definitely have discussed different different things because of how how well received some of that xfl stuff was so you know, I know, they talked about the xfl kickoff. And that was you know, what made that such a good rule is that, you know, you're trying to promote kick returns, but keep it a safe play. And that's what the exit kickoff did in the NFL. You know, you've we've seen it they've tweaked the kickoff so many times in so many different ways. So I think that for sure it will be will be discussed in the future and definitely the kind of the transparency and then the ability to hear and see what's happening behind the scenes. I don't know if the NFL will go that far. You talking about an established league every every club is very, you know, they're they're very protective of their own stuff. And, and so there are rules in place to prevent some of that but but I think the NFL will will definitely look at things like the kickoff, more of that transparency, because people loved it. And it was fun even being a part of it. It was fun to watch that reaction. Because one of the fans ever been like excited about something officiated related, never good feedback about officiating other than you guys getting but...

Joe Malkin:

Dean, I've always been a big fan of officials in officiating. And one of the things I kind of preached to these guys was humanizing, officiating, which I think really has been something that the NFL and definitely with the xfl. And some of these other leagues and the way someone like you interacts with people on social media is really humanizing the game, the profession of officiating in the NFL, but one thing that really interests me is how far the NFL has come since the re implication of replay in 1999. And it went away from the game in 1991. And they had it for about six years. And it really changed the way the game happened. And and you were one of those pioneers that really was was put in charge of re implementing replay in 99. And so many things have changed in the last 20 to 23 years. Do you think that the league is going in the correct direction in terms of officiating? When you look at how much it has changed? You know, it is?

Dean Blandino:

That's a really good question. And it's just we've seen the evolution of replay and like you mentioned the old system. I mean, 1986 to 1991 I wasn't at the NFL at that time, but that system was I mean, if you can remember to VCR so it was basically you were you had two VCRs recording. And if one of the look at something you had to press stop, rewind that the other one record. So imagine trying to review calls with two VCRs how long it would take, there were unlimited stoppages. So that system went away and I you know, when I got to the NFL and the technology started to change, you know, the internet, digital video, right, and then we can watch video wherever we're on. We're on a zoom call right now, right in 90 9095. We, you know, we didn't know what zoom was, but the technology continued to improve where we said okay, it's all digital, it's it's more seamless. We're basically just recording the program feed what everybody watches at home, we're recording it, and we're just making marking points on it and I with a touchscreen I can access any one of those points on the video immediately. So that made a lot of sense. Because now, it wasn't going to take, you know, four or five minutes to review a play. But to your question, Where are we going? Right? The technology continues to improve and the calls we were looking at in 1999. Remember, that was standard definition. Now we have high def, we've got super slow mo, so we're seeing more things than we could ever see back then. And what does that mean? It means we're reviewing more calls, we're overturning more calls. So where do you draw the line and keep that balance between the onfield officials, officiating the game, and then letting technology help but not be, you know, too intrusive? And I think that's going to be a challenge for the NFL for college football, for any professional sports league is maintaining that balance, because the technology is great. And we want to get the clothes, right. But do you want to watch a football game where every time we're waiting for somebody upstairs to give a thumbs up or thumbs down? Like who wants to watch that. So I think it's going to be a challenge for the NFL to maintain that balance,

Joe Malkin:

the way it has progressed, we've seen, we've seen the ability to replay p eyes we've seen, then we saw that retracted. And we've seen that a lot over the years where there's the you're able to review something that not able to review something. And I think one of the best things that was implemented was making a call, and then going back and look at it instead of not making a call. So we're out at the one yard line a pylon goes down, or call it a touchdown. And we'll see what it was. And I feel like that makes the process faster. Is that something? Is that what you were aiming for?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, we were looking at initially when we put the system in, they wanted to keep it limited. That's why the coach's challenge system went in, whereas before it was just replay official could stop the game like college, right? So they wanted to keep it limited coach's challenge for everything outside two minutes. But inside two minutes to prevent a team from not having a timeout not being able to fix a big play or to manipulate the clock. You have the replay official then we started to look at Okay, you know scoring place the clock is stopped every you know, there's no there's no reason where the team could could create an advantage that way. Let's make that an automatic review big class turnovers. Let's take that off the coach's plate. They can keep their challenges hopefully for the other stuff. And let replay just review it like you said, ruling on the field to touchdown it's at the pylon replay can look at it quickly. Yeah, it's a score confirming Let's move on. If it's not, then they'll stop the game and look at it. So that was part of the discussion to make sure we get those big plays, right scoring plays and turnovers and give the coaches a little more, you know, flexibility with their challenges.

Rob Kelly:

So with the implementation of how advanced technology has gotten with, you know, slow law, everything like that, what's the determination of where, you know, you may think you see something, but you had to slow that tape down to, you know, one eighth at a time, one 30th time? Where's that determination of like, Okay, listen, we've been looking at this play for 15 minutes, and we still don't know what's right, what's wrong. Where's that determination being made? Is that in the booth? Or is that the rest of the field?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, that's in the booth. And that's really the basic concept of replay. When we put it back in, we said, okay, we're gonna start with the call and the field is correct. That's where we're gonna start. We're not starting, we don't know we're starting. It's correct. And we have to see indisputable visual evidence clear and obvious evidence that it's incorrect. And to your point, if we're looking at this for 10 minutes, and we're going super slow mo, and we're looking at four or five different angles and trying to piece them together. Is that indisputable? Right? Is that clear and obvious? Probably not. We want the reversals, the overturns to jump out where you go, there it is clear as day ball. Everybody can see that. And if you know if you remember Mike Holmgren who coached the packers and coached the Seahawks, he you know, in our meetings back in the late 90s. You know, he he said it was a 50 guy in a bar standard. Like if you can get 50 guys in a bar to agree on on something, then that's obvious. Right? So that was kind of that was kind of what we went with. And I think that's the challenge with the better technology, are we going to become more technical, and become less clear and obvious, standard and more, you know, with this overly technical tech, you know, review process and I think that's one of the you know, I know, it's one of the concerns that I have going forward.

Michael Marcangelo:

Yeah. And you know, kind of following up on that. I know that you know, with the competition committee in the NFL and all the coaches, right, they want to get the rules right and have everything by the book. So I guess My question based on your experience, would they rather have the officials make the call in the field and stand by it? Or they rather have it go to the technological aspect and look at the replay and understand exactly what happened?

Dean Blandino:

Well, I think they, they, they'd rather have the onfield ruling, the maintain the integrity of that the official rule to catch, and we got to see 100%, that it's not a catch in order to overturn. That's always been the philosophy. And I think that allows you to achieve greater consistency. Whereas if you just say, hey, you don't know what the ruling is, and you're going to look at it, well, maybe this guy says it's a catch, this guy says it's incomplete. And then we get into less consistency. So I think that's where the competition committee has been, and will continue to be. But again, as technology gets better, I think I think what was wasn't clear and obvious 10 years ago has become clear and obvious. And then one of the deal,

Michael Marcangelo:

I have to give you a disclaimer, do you have a resident cowboy fan on the screen with you? And I'm telling you this because you said the word catch

Unknown:

say that?

Rob Kelly:

Listen,

Dean Blandino:

you guys are all Boston, right? This is all patriots and looking at Celtics

Michael Marcangelo:

that is. I mean, that is a story that I could tell. That's, that's probably better fit for a therapist is couch. But what I will say is you said the word catch three times in that last answer. So I'm gonna have to

Dean Blandino:

see, does that give you a little,

Michael Marcangelo:

I'm gonna have to defer to Bobby, the resident cowboy fan so that he can ask his question.

Rob Kelly:

No, no. So So that leads me to my question is if there is something where it does become a question where maybe everyone in that replay booth is questioning Oh, that was the catch. I don't know what play could be talking about maybe you know, dedicado? Well, no, but so, like, is that something where when you are? So let's say it does go to the booth, the entire booth is spent on a decision? Is that something that you guys revisit that rule at a later date? Or, or is it something where it's like, okay, that's the rule on the book. That's what it is at this point. Because, you know, in my opinion, dad's caught it. But as soon as they saw the play, actually happened. I was like, Okay, I know that's getting overturned. I know, he didn't catch that by the NFL book. I know, he didn't catch it.

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, no, I know what you're saying. And look, if we're split in the booth, or you know, the referee, and whoever's making those decisions, if you're splitting that typically means you don't have enough to overturn it. Right. And we always look right, the catch rule. The catch rule has been, you know, debated and in a long, long time, because there is a subjective element. And just a little background on the desk play. I mean, I'm in the NFL command center jeans, territory, who works for CBS. Now he's the referee, the play happens. First of all, I'm going alright, it's fourth in to just give it to DeMarco Murray. Let them get a first down. Right. Instead, I see the ball in the air. I'm like, Okay, this is gonna be a big play. I see. Dez go down. I see the ball pop. And I go, all right. And I'm watching. I'm watching the Green Bay sideline. And I'm almost like praying that McCarthy doesn't challenge because I know it's going to be controversial either way. And as soon as the red flag came out, I literally said to the room, I was like, just be ready, because the SH It is about to hit the fan. And Jean, and I talked about it, we went through it. And there was no doubt in our mind, if there was any doubt in my mind that by the rule, it was it was not a you know, it was still a catch. We wouldn't have changed it in you know, we went through the steps in the rule the ball at the ground, it came loose, you know, the football move didn't matter at that time. And it was an incomplete pass. But but that rule, because there were there were plays that looked like catches, but by the rule, they weren't the competition committee continue to look at it and tweak is what we want, you know, is we want everybody to understand the rule. We don't want people to say, Well, I don't that doesn't make any sense. And you always try to, you know, there has to be some level of common sense, you know, attached to it. So there's always that part of it and those conversations, and we'll still talk about catch no catch plays, you know, forever.

Joe Malkin:

So we we, as you mentioned, you see the Red Sox busted, you know, the Patriot stuff, the stuff behind Bobby there. I think along the same lines, we've had so many plays like that through our fandom through our lives and your time with the NFL. And I know Mike's gonna bring it up. So I'm just gonna bring it up. Now we've had the fail, Mary, we've had the Dez catch. And back when you were a replay official back in the NFL, you weren't at this game. You weren't doing this game, but the snowball between the Patriots and the Raiders. This is one of the most controversial calls in the last 20 years that literally in our minds sparked a dynasty was by rule I kind of defer to Bobby again on this by rule. The Tom Brady tuck rule was not a fun by rolling the NFL, what in your mind? Do you would you have said that was now and back then?

Dean Blandino:

Well, yeah, back then it was pretty straightforward. It was a pass based on the rule. At the time. Once you started the hand coming forward, it was literally a pass until you actually brought it all the way back into your body. And we know that's what Tom was trying to do. But he didn't get it all the way back into his body. You know, what's in hits it ball comes out. And like you said, I agree, right? If If that's true, they fumble and stays a fumble. Who knows if the Patriots go on to do to be the dynasty that they work? And oh, and I say we're I'm sorry. I don't

Joe Malkin:

know. It's okay. We've done the same thing.

Rob Kelly:

Trust me. Definitely. We're definitely where

Dean Blandino:

I've said that in the past and the boys prove me wrong. But now it feels different, though, you know?

Michael Marcangelo:

Yeah. Right.

Dean Blandino:

It's, it was it was a pass at that time, under the current rule, which was changed, it would be a fumble. And and we, you know, think about the greatness of Tom Brady. I mean, that was 19. What was it? 2001 2000 2001. And we just had a play last night. I mean, he still playing at such a high level.

Joe Malkin:

Yeah. And just a follow up to that, because that involved Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. And as Boston fans, and, you know, kind of a New England flavor on the show. How many and I don't need we don't need an exact obviously. But how many times over the last 22 years? Have you seen rules altered or changed? Because of I'll give you three names Bill Belichick Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, well, it's quite a few times. And in the thing about the Patriots, right. And I'm sure you guys know it. And it's real. I mean, the Patriots were, you know, they were winning, and they were dominating, and they were doing things that you hadn't seen. And, and the other teams around the league, you know, what, it's all the gates, right? You had spy gate, and then you had the gate and you had all these other things. And, you know, so you think about the rules that were changed what what what is, again, the greatness that is built belcheck as a football coach is he understands the rules, to a degree that most coaches don't and I used to have great conversations with him weekly conversations during the season, not just about the Patriots games, but about other games and rules and things and what Bill you know, Bill, it wasn't you're not cheating, but you're going to try to gain an advantage based on the rule and you're going to try to do things to give your team a leg up and that's what he did. And you know, we saw the deal with the timing with with against the Jets where they took the delay a game and then the last part and then you know, kind of then the Titans did it and and so there's been a bunch of those that have been involved with the Patriots and also with with Peyton Manning, and again, that just goes to coach Belichick. He's He's just when it comes to the entire picture, you know, the football aspect the coaching the the the general manager, the personnel and the officiating and rules he he he knew it all and that's what made you know him makes him so great and made the team so great.

Joe Malkin:

Made him dangerous, too for you guys. Yeah.

Dean Blandino:

And I joked with him I asked him Hey, you should you should get on the competition committees. I don't want to you know, because there's a lot of people complain about about the Patriots and

Rob Kelly:

he knows no one would get away with anything ever again if that's right, I competition committee guy No, we can't

Joe Malkin:

because Harbaugh tried to do it in Baltimore a few years ago which is still one of my most frustrating experiences. Yeah, no bill was living in John's head rent free for a little while. But the the whole eligible ineligible receiver Yeah, that was just it was frustrating to watch as a fan too, because you don't know what the heck's going on

Rob Kelly:

a rebel tried to do it right back to them again. No.

Michael Marcangelo:

Yeah. I think you know, for for us like the double check that we see as fans right is very, like rigid, you know, he grunty snorts obviously, like he's different with with you. And I was reading an article, I think from back in like 2005 when he actually spoke with your colleague, Mike Pereira in the back. And he said, You know, I'm realizing one thing you never win, do you but you have 16 losers every week as a coach as fans as players either you win or you lose you feel the euphoria or the catastrophic defeat for referees and for people in your in your position. What was it like knowing that no matter what this is gonna be a wrestling term you're walking out of that game as a heel?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, no question and and that and Bill you know, said that to Mike Pereira that he and like you said, you're gonna teams they they know and you talk to the people at teams and the facility the building feels different after a win than it does after a loss. Well, in officiating it's always the same. And you're always just putting out fires and there are no wins and losses. And it's just always feels like a loss because a win for a win for officiating for an entire would be an entire week of NFL football without one question about the officiating. Right. And that never happens. Right? It's just so you're trying to minimize the damage. And when you talk to a coach, you know, I talk to coaches on Sunday night, Monday morning, it's it's not they're not calling you to tell you how amazing the crew was and how great a call the side judge made in the third quarter. And and their work. And those are the ones that stand out in my, you know, time as head of the head of the department. You know, there were a handful of times where a coach called just to say how how well the crew did and those kind of stand out. But But you know, that's the thing and officiating, but you know that going in? You're not if you if you want a profession where you're going to get a lot of Pat's on the back, then don't go into officiating, you know, it's not gonna happen.

Michael Marcangelo:

I know that you mentioned at the beginning of the show that you know, you did hang up the microphone, you no longer a stand up comedian, but you know, we're just tying it to this question. What's, what's worse, like, what what feels worse, being booed by 70,000 people? or telling a joke, and nobody laughing?

Dean Blandino:

Not it's not even close telling a joke. And having it just really bomb is a million times worse. It's, it's more personal, it's no more. And I and I did stand, like 10 years, and there were times where you would just whether it's an audience, or whether the joke just I didn't deliver it, and it was just crickets. And it's the loneliest feeling in the world. And whereas I could people, you could go on my Twitter feed, and there's people that are just the hate hate me, like legit never met me, never talked to me, but legit hate me and tweet, really just awful things. And that's like, Alright, whatever. Like, I don't care, but, but I can remember every time a joke didn't go over. And um, and I still I'm like, that was a funny joke that not only

Joe Malkin:

Dean I have the same problem with my wife, honestly, I do. They never land. They you know, and and you were you were doing stand up comedy in New York City. So it's not like you were doing it. You know, some in some small town, these people were really expecting a lot. So you had a tough crowd to begin with. But you do in the NFL as well. And kind of going off of that a little bit. And sorry, I just lost my spot there. But I want to change gears because this is a question that jumped out at me and Mike, I'm sorry if I jump on you here. But

Michael Marcangelo:

why stop now Dude?

Joe Malkin:

I know I've been doing it. I've been doing it for 12 years. I'm not as well continue to do it. Um, it this is really stuck out in my mind. As Mike mentioned, your colleague you and Mike Pereira do do last call every week. And one thing that stuck out to me today was protecting your players and protecting players at every level. And we all know that this is very important. What What have you guys really tried to implement in the college and the NFL game to make that uniform across the board to protect players?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, it's always when we talk about making rules changes discussing rules you there's a couple things you look at and the first one is always player safety. That's number one, then you look at like competitive fairness. And then you look at consistency and officiating. Can the officials consistently officiate this rule? So when it comes to player safety, and I've like I started with the NFL 1994 and the rules were much different, you didn't have all of the protections for defenseless players that we have today. You know, it was really just helmet to helmet and nothing else now you know, forcible contact to the head neck area to a defenseless player. Now you have the targeting rule in college where you have the disqualification so i think you know, both College and the NFL have done a really good job formulating these rules expanding them because what we know now about head injuries and concussions and their effects you know, without without those protections without those rules, you know, we won't have a game we won't have professional football we won't even have college football if we don't protect our players and and continue to keep the game and even have that trickle down to the lower leagues and peewee football and all that because that's where you get your that's kind of your lifeblood and if parents don't want kids to play tackle football, that will eventually trickle up and impact the game 2025 years from now. So it was always a big thing for us. It continues to be and and it's the number one priorities that player safety.

Rob Kelly:

So that kind of goes into another question I have when it comes to instant replay kind of parlayed it into that. Is that something that the NFL has looked at, I know when Got head a couple weeks ago agenda is to replay to see if someone will get ejected. But the case may be, is that something where the NFL is almost looking to go down the NBA path where they start reviewing these personal fouls on a case by case basis every time they happen to protect that safety?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, no, it's no, it's a good question, because and that's something when, you know, we had talked for years with the competition committee about about things like, you know, the pass interference rule that they implemented last year and didn't work out. But it was, you know, when are we going to look at some of these player safety fouls and make those reviewable? Like the college and there were a lot of clubs, clubs that that that had proposed rules changes. So I think that is, I think that's going to happen at some point in the NFL, I think, again, the challenge is keeping it limited. You know, because if, again, if you if you're going to review every foul, and there were a lot of player safety fouls, that could be a problem. But I think if you limit it to maybe defenseless player protection, because again, the game is so fast, and it happens so quickly. And the onfield official, you know, you want to protect the player, so it's close, maybe the contact was to that neck area, the official throws the flag, and then you get the super slow mo replay the chose while was actually in the chest, that's 15 yards and a big deal to that team. So I think it is going to happen at some point some of these player safety fouls will be reviewable. But again, it's just making sure that it's not too intrusive, and we don't have too many stoppages during the game.

Michael Marcangelo:

Right. And along that same line, I was reading an article about about something a project that you were doing, it would pretty much create a uniformed officiating approach from peewee to high school to college. How far off Do you think we are from that happening? Because I do see that there's, there's there's definitely a difference between obviously peewee and then elementary school and you know, high school football. And then there's that same leap between the NCAA and the NFL. So how far are we from it from that, from that uniform approach?

Dean Blandino:

Well, I think one of the things we're looking for is trying to find, you know, a connector between even just high school football, college football in the NFL, and we did have a meeting two years ago with representatives from all groups just to talk about player safety rules. I don't think, I don't think because the athletes are different, that you can have this same set of rules for high school, college and NFL, right, the NFL athlete is elite in high school, right? You know, we I'm sure we all played high school football.

Rob Kelly:

I played high school football.

Dean Blandino:

So it's a different deal. And so I think you have to take that into consideration. Even college right, Division Three is much different than Ohio State and Clemson. But I think if you can look at just whether it's just defenses play protection, or if it's low blocks, if you can, if you can try to create just some some, you know, continuity across the board, I think that helps players develop and helps coaches that were coaching the same technique. And as the player jumps from, you know, one level to the next, they don't have to learn learn a lot. One of the changes, just to give you an example was the chop block rule. right out of high school and colleges had eliminated the chop block rule for a long time on running place, it was still legal in the NFL. And what we saw was defensive players who had never had to, to protect themselves from a chop block, because it was illegal, now get to the NFL, and now they're getting high load. And we're seeing injuries because they don't know how to play it. And that was one of the changes we made to say, you know what, we got to get rid of all hailo blocks, whether it's a run, pass or kick, because that's going to protect the players, and they're going to have that familiarity with the rule throughout their entire career. And then that's just one example. And I think I think all all those groups need to get together, and and have that discussion, just, you know, keep that conversation going.

Michael Marcangelo:

And I completely agree. And I think that right now, it would be hard, like you said to follow the rules, you know, letter by letter because of the differences in athletes, but just the spirit of the rule is something that you can kind of try to enforce it sounds like that's what, what you're talking about a few things that I wanted to kind of go through now about the present day of football, because we've talked a little bit about your past. And obviously all of your list of accomplishments. No, there was something that you said on last week's I think it's week 10 of last call with my prayer the show that you do. You mentioned, I think he went off on kind of like a little bit of a rant. He said he was going to about bad calls. And you said that you're just thankful to be in a position to critique good or bad calls. So back in July or back in June, how optimistic were you that there was going to be an NFL season and based on what you've seen so far, like, how well have they done?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, I mean, I've said this before, I think they the NFL every everyone involved has done an amazing job to think that we've got through 11 weeks in and you know, there was a point in July and August. cases were spiking. And we didn't know you know, I I was I was kind of in a good place in April and May and even into June. And then July and August hit and I said, Wait, this we might not have a season or this could be delayed. And and I just think I think the universe done amazing when you think about, right what the NBA did with a bubble and in the NHL did a bubble baseball did a bubble for the postseason. That's almost impossible in the NFL, the number of people that you have involved in an NFL organization, you know, when you think about just the players, when you're talking about 53, on an active roster, another 10 to 15, on the practice web, then you have all the trainers and everybody else, front office people, everybody that's involved, you're talking about hundreds of people per team, and to save that you could put everybody in one city, it's just not going to happen. So they took the approach of just strict testing strict protocols. And, you know, we've we've played I think, one less game to this to date to this season, compared to last season, some games have been around, and obviously right now, right? What cases are spiking again, who knows what the the winter will, will hold, but you gotta you know, I just think it's been an amazing job that the NFL has done in the players, everybody. And hopefully, we can get through the rest of the season and get the playoffs and the Super Bowl, and without any, you know, major interference.

Joe Malkin:

One, one big question that I have on that subject, and we've talked about a lot, you know, off the air and on our podcast, is that that COVID list that they have, how familiar are you with that? And and can you kind of give just a quick overview, if you do have an idea, because it's very, you don't have to test positive to be on it. But if you get contacts, so it's kind of a gray area?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, it is. And that's where, you know, you don't know if someone's on that covid list? Did they test positive? Or were they just in that close proximity to somebody that tested positive? What we do know, if you're on that list, somebody tested positive, right. And that's the contact tracing. So they've got, right, everybody's wearing a band, it identifies when you're closer than six feet, and it tracks it. So right now, and it feels like, right, you could you could go on pro football talk or ESPN or whatever, and you're gonna see, you know, ravens COVID list, you know, jaguars COVID, list every day, we're seeing players added to it, it's a combination. I think one of those things, right, once you go on that list, then you have to get tested, you have to have a series of negative test some if they're asymptomatic, it's a number of days, where if they're asymptomatic, they can go play, it's, I don't know, all the ins and outs. I it's, it seems like with testing and COVID, who knows what to believe, but I just know that the NFL, you know, they're very strict on the testing. And when you're on that list, you know, it could be like you said, it could be that a positive test, or it could be a, you know, just because of the the tracing. You know, we do it at Fox Sports. I mean, I get tested twice a week, we've had, we've had positive tests where people you know, they didn't test positive, but because you were in close proximity. You couldn't you couldn't go into the studio, so I think everybody's dealing with it to some degree.

Michael Marcangelo:

I mean, if it makes you feel any better, my entire Fantasy Football League team tested positive for COVID today, so the none of them are going to play this week. And you just mentioned you know, that you get tested twice, you know, twice a week. Can you talk a little bit about how your, how your day to day life has been affected and changed and how you do your job has changed, you know, during a pandemic,

Dean Blandino:

yeah, I you know, I count myself very lucky and I'm blessed you know, that, you know, I still get to do what I'm what I do for a living and I know there are a lot of other people that are impacted much you know, much more than I've been, but for me really, you know, one of the things that that and I guess it's a silver lining is you know, we I work with the NCAA and help you know, coordinate the replay program and work with replay officials and we normally have these in person meetings obviously all that got cancelled but right what have we all learned throughout this ordeal is that we can connect with people via zoom or whatever else it is so you know, I'm doing I'm on zoom calls every day with replay officials from around the country. I'm able to work from home during the week we're doing last call virtually on zoom. And and you know, and the only the only difference for me is getting tested and then when I'm in the studio, obviously, you know wearing a mask, not as many people in the studio maintaining that social distance so you you adhere to the protocols. But for me, you know and other than just staying home and staying in. You know, it hasn't changed drastically which which I'm very thankful.

Michael Marcangelo:

I wanted to kind of touch back on something that you mentioned you did. We talked about your experience with the with the xfl. You were also part of the Was it the allegiance of American football as well the lead from last year. So It sounds to me like you believe there is room for another Professional Football League.

Dean Blandino:

Yeah. Oh, no question. No question. I, when I first started at the NFL, we had NFL Europe, and they were playing overseas. And it was such a great training ground for players, coaches, officials, just everybody. And, and I really feel like that development opportunity. And it's not you know, you've seen other leagues, right, that try to say, oh, we're USFL, or whatever it is, we're going to compete with the NFL, no one's going to compete with the NFL. Right. In the fall. That's not going to happen, but the spring, and I think the xfl 2.0 proved it, right that we that you can have quality football quality production quality people. And and people you know, look, look, the ratings weren't, it wasn't like we were getting 10 million people again, but you were doing just as well as a regular season baseball game or regular season hockey game or basketball game. And people were showing up. And you look at right look at the development, PJ Walker's got exactly. The game for the Panthers. And he was, you know, probably the MVP of the first five weeks for the xfl. If you look at just from an officiating perspective, the NFL hired in their initial go round before some officials opted out, I think they hired six new officials, five of those officiated in the xfl. So obviously, just there's room there's definitely room. The AF was a great experience to ultimately, the financing. The backing, the financial backing wasn't there. And but I think with the right backing and the right people, and I think the xfl proved that and what I'm hopeful for, and I think, you know, talking having had some preliminary conversations with the xfl people, they're not looking to reinvent the wheel. They know it worked. And and we don't need to make a lot of changes for for 3.0.

Michael Marcangelo:

Yeah, what were your thoughts on the quality of the product because as a fan of as a pro wrestling fan, I did watch the xfl the first one right. And it wasn't great. Like we had Tommy Maddox and we had he hate me, that's those are the two standouts. But when you when you talk about the games from from this past season, the drop off, obviously it's there. But the quality of football was good.

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, I thought it was really good. I thought it was a step up from the AF the previous year. I thought if you if you wanted to like to kind of compare to something it was, it was just as good. It was better than college football across the board. It was just as good as your top college football even better. Because again, you know, these are professionals. These are most of most of the players had been on NFL rosters at some point, you know, practice, squad, whatever it may be. So the quality was great. What was also great was the production, both Fox Sports, ESPN, they put a lot into it when you watch a game. And it's not like I don't know who these announcers are there were, you know, Kevin Burkhart and Steve levy and these people, you know, Greg McElroy that you see on their normal broadcast. Yeah, that was a big, big deal. So the quality was was great. And and again, and you're seeing that with players getting signed by the NFL and obviously PJ Walker being a highlight and, and I think I think there's there's room for it. And I think there's there's players out there that look, are we going to see are we gonna have another story like Kurt Warner? No, probably not. I think I think you know, you're not gonna you're not going to have somebody that just pops out of the arena league and becomes a Hall of Famer, but you're going to have good quality players that can stay on and more rosters come from, from the xfl Yes,

Rob Kelly:

I think a big thing is to is like they actually have that opportunity to do that. Now. You know, it's like, you look at a lot of weeks out there we have the G league in the NBA, we have triple A and baseball. And that's how I saw the xfl for the NFL is like they could really fit right into that niche. And I'll tell you why. I may not have watched many games live, but I was scrolling through YouTube every single time I saw an xfl highlight, like video pop up. I was watching that 100% of the time because it was good football and and there was great production involved. 100%

Dean Blandino:

no question and people are gonna get that when someone gets that opportunity. Who knows if PJ would be on the Panthers if it weren't for the right I go back to a guy I went to school with at Hofstra in New York Wayne Chrebet I mean Wayne and he said it you know without a preseason this year, a lot of guys didn't get an opportunity. Wayne made the Jets. He was like the ninth receiver at the start of training camp, made the jets and preseason and and had an unbelievable career without an opportunity that never happens and then the xfl can provide that for people.

Rob Kelly:

One more, one more hops are great real quick miles Austin, just throwing that out there

Dean Blandino:

was a football factory football factory. I'm telling you,

Joe Malkin:

the hoster pride there's the Hofstra pride drop today. And Wayne Chrebet really could have benefited from the place safety rules that are in place now. Because we know he, I mean, his career could have lasted even longer. He was one of those guys on those jets teams that were, they were likable because he was just he was that ninth guy. We've had a few guys like that New England, you know, the Troy browns, the Danny wood heads of the world. So you mentioned from the NFL, where Steve levy basically parlayed that into a Monday Night Football gig. You mentioned the the officials that were hired into the NFL, something that you did while you were a big part of while you were the VP of officiating with the NFL was hire the first full time female official Sarah Thomas. And, um, you know, this has been such a big deal. And you mentioned the backlash that you get on Twitter. She's gotten backlash on Twitter. And I think one of the biggest things that I see with her is going through her, her profile, and I saw that she officiated a game with a broken wrist in 2016, which blows my mind because I probably would be home on my couch with the bad guys and some No, but but I look at a an official like her. And I don't want to say a woman like her, I want to say an official like her because she has really staked her claim as a very good line judge and now a town judge in the NFL. What was that process? like bringing her into the NFL?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, and that was one of the things you know, when I came in, and we talked about diversity inclusion, right, last night's game was the first NFL game with all black official, you know, officiating crew, which is an amazing an amazing accomplishment. But, you know, when I came in, it was we didn't obviously didn't have any female officials. But so we kind of start to look at the pipeline and say, Where were we know, there are women out there? officiating? Right, and we've got to give them an opportunity. Because imagine what officials go through, right, they, like we talked about earlier, there's no wins, right? It's always a loss. So it's already a pretty crappy job. And then imagine being the only one the only woman and there's no locker room, and there's no right there's the uniform fits differently. All these things you wouldn't even think of, you know, as a man. And Sarah had her goal all along, she and we talked about it, she didn't want to be she didn't want to be known as the first female NFL official. She just wanted to be an NFL official, like like, like other hundred and 20 officials that we had. And she had worked her way up, got started the same way all the guys did, and and got to the point where for me, I didn't want to bring her in before she was ready, because because if she came in before she was ready, and she and it showed then what are people going to say? Well, sure. Women can officiate females can't do it, you know, blah, blah, blah, all the all the dumb stuff that people say. So it was important to me that, you know, when she's ready, right, then we're going to bring her in. And in 2015, she was ready. And and we brought her in. And my hope is that, you know, and I know when I've worked with we had we had female officials in the xfl. And I've worked with a lot of them. And my hope is that we can have, you know, another one and four or five, however, so it's not a thing anymore, right? Whenever when you have an officiating crew with all minorities, it's not a thing. It's just, that's just how it is. Right. And that's the goal. And and hopefully that you know that that takes place sooner rather than

Joe Malkin:

what a project that you're that you've worked on, as the senior executive producer is her turf, which we've all now watched the trailer to. And that's what sort of incident I know is supposed to be released this year. And everything you just said is something that all three of those women said in in that promo for that documentary is I don't want to be known as the female official. I don't want to be known as the best female official, I just want to be known as an official. And, and in that project, talk a little bit about that project is where we're all really anticipating the release of that.

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, it's you know, that was something that I didn't even know it existed or was happening and and someone that I've known for a long time in East Kennedy. She was actually the first female official in the NCAA, and she was a scout in the NFL. And a nice had reached out to me and said, Well, I want to introduce you to this this person, Chantel Hanson, she's a filmmaker, and she's working on a project that I think you'd be interested in. So she connected me and Chantel and we talked to she told me Yeah, I just I met these these female officials and I started following them and just, you know, went to a clinic and a couple of their, their their personal lives. And you know, I'd love for you to get involved and and we just kind of hit it off. She She showed me like some of the clips that she had already. This was you know, wasn't a finished product yet. And I and I just kind of felt you know, drawn to it, and she's an amazing person, amazing filmmaker, and we finished the project and it went down You know, it's gone through the film festival I've never been, you know, I've never been a part of any kind of executive producing, I don't even know what that meant. And we just, you know, we we entered it in a bunch of film festivals and made it to a bunch of film festivals won a bunch of awards. And once we get through the film festival, once we kind of put that, you know, aside, then we'll release it. And it was just an amazing experience. And it's really just a really cool film just to see these these these women and what they go through and yeah, it's it's just a it's just a pretty cool deal.

Michael Marcangelo:

You just mentioned that beforehand, you did not know what executive producing me that right. No idea. So so so so what does it mean?

Dean Blandino:

It means that you're you You are responsible. You have you have the oversight, you can make decisions, you pay for a lot of stuff. That's that's the other thing as an executive producer, but you do get you do get kind of final say on a lot of things. So it's, it's it's pretty good gig

Joe Malkin:

that aligns exactly with what Craig Craig's face during that. But that's literally Craig's job description.

Dean Blandino:

Yeah. Craig, Greg's the guy behind this whole operation, I can tell

Michael Marcangelo:

Oh, yeah, we can't walk and chew gum at the same time. We

Unknown:

only do about like, 75% of the actual work.

Michael Marcangelo:

You know, you talked about, you know, Sarah being the first female official, right, based on what you saw what you heard, how did the others welcome her into that into that fraternity of being an official? Because it's tough, right?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, no, no question. Look, and there there there are some people that are just and this is in any walk of life, they're just happy for someone success, right. And they're just welcome them in. And then there are others that that there's there's professional jealousy, there's people that will say, and probably still to this day, the only reason she got in the NFL is because she's female, right. And, and to that, I say, you got to look at your own performance, you got to look at right she imagine, imagine being an NFL official, right, how hard that is, and the scrutiny, and then now you're the first female official, right? To do what what pressure she was under, in her first year and is still under. And that's the thing, like, for the most part, overwhelming the officiating community is an amazing community, I've learned and overwhelmingly positive, but there are like anything else, there are people that are gonna, that are gonna kind of be resentful of someone else's success and find reasons to try to tear them down. And that's unfortunate. But, you know, Sam has been amazing. And she's we still talk and text and, and she's doing an amazing job work to play off, or the playoff game, you know, last year, and I think she's gonna continue to have a great career.

Michael Marcangelo:

Yeah, I think it's, you know, it's always awesome to have, you know, to talk to someone like you who's done so much and kind of reminisce about the past, but that move, Sarah and allowing, you know, or having a female official will be something that we talk about for years to come, you know, that that impact it will have on the game on officiating, and just on, you know, breaking down gender barriers, which should not exist anymore. Like you said, it shouldn't be a thing. That's just something that we were all when we're talking about it we really wanted to emphasize. It's just it's a really big deal, though.

Joe Malkin:

We saw this year and I just wanted to throw this in there that there was a game this season where we had the the first female coach on both sidelines and the first female official in the game. And again, you know, we talked about it that way now, because we're five guys sitting here talking about officiating, right, but Mike's absolutely right. Eventually, that's going to be the norm. And, and nobody's even going to bat an eye at it. But it was great to see that between between the football team, the browns, and and Sarah on the sideline as the downdraft. I mean, that was just such a great experience and a great moment.

Dean Blandino:

And that's and it's kind of the balance. I remember having the conversation with Sarah, you know, when we first you know, we were going to our first officiating clinic, and they were going to be media there. And everybody when she when we hired Sarah, everybody, and we're not talking about like, you know, the local newspaper, it was like, Good morning, America. And it was like, all the big big, you know, productions and and we had this conversation. And I said, Listen, I know, you just want to be another NFL official, and we'll get there right now, you're not right now, you know, the league, we're going to celebrate this a little bit because you You are a role model. And there, there are a lot of, you know, young girls out there that are going to see you and go, I didn't know, I didn't know, I could be a football official, right? And we're going to have a whole This is going to create, you know, a whole wave of young women that are gonna that are gonna be interested in this and, and then I said, I said, and don't worry, we'll get to the point where you're just another official and that's going to happen, and and hopefully, you know, we get to a point where like I said earlier, it's not a thing, right? It's just this is the way It is the Jackie Robinson effect.

Michael Marcangelo:

Yeah. But I think so, I asked, you know, I kind of teased the fact you're gonna be on the show. So I asked everyone I knew if there's one question that you could hypothetically had me ask Dean blandino, what would it be? This is it. So I apologize. It's with all the technology we have, why do we still use a pair of sticks and a chain to determine a first down from 80 feet away?

Dean Blandino:

So it's a great question. And we have been I was at the NFL, I mean, back in like, 2005, we had people come in with laser technology and all this different thing. And and I think ultimately, right, it's, there is a there's a drama and an excitement to putting the ball down. It's, it's fourth down, they just went for it. It's that close. And what's more exciting, just immediately knowing artists short, or everybody waiting the balls down, the two old guys come out with the chains. They stretch the chains and it's short or not. I think there's a there's an excitement to that. Look, that's not the only reason I think the the technology hasn't gotten to the point where you know, you're talking about shooting a laser across the field. You know, there are a lot there's a lot of, you know, obstruction. The it's not as simple as in soccer, the ball crossing the line, right? Well, that's pretty simple. Where in football, well, when is the knee down? You know, when you step out of bounds, it's more layered. So I think the technology will eventually get there. But I kind of like the chains you know, now I don't know whose is it progressive or somebody who's doing the commercial with the two guys. I like those commercials. So

Joe Malkin:

it's always the insurance companies that have the best commercials and always, always it's what they do with our money. I don't I don't know.

Dean Blandino:

I got I have progressive because of the way it goes. I love those commercials. It's

Rob Kelly:

proof that marketing works. Ladies and gentlemen. It definitely.

Joe Malkin:

Yeah, the Geico Gecko got me.

Unknown:

It's marketing.

Rob Kelly:

It doesn't only get us but it gets Dean blandino.

Joe Malkin:

That's the tagline for the entire episode right there. So going off of that, you mentioned the old guys coming out the old You know, they're measuring it. And then we get and now he's retired and his son is now a referee, but you get at Hockey League flexing to tell us if it's first down first down the beaches that way, kind of thing. I mentioned it at the beginning, humanizing, officiating. And I think you do a great job of that just going through your Twitter, seeing you respond to questions, and I learned so much just going through over the you know, the past few weeks, just seeing everything. You have such a passion for the rules, but also for the game of football. If you could, if you could say like to us, you know, not not even our listeners, but to us like one thing that could really humanize officials and and the rules side of the game, what would that be?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, I think it's such a, it's such a big deal. And we always talked about that we tend to forget that officials or people, right, we tend to, you know, we sit on our couch or we go to a game. And and we just kind of yell at them and it trickles down, it trickles down. One of the things we always talk to our announcers about is just be mindful, even the language you use, you could disagree with a call, that's fine. But don't don't be disrespectful, because people hear that. And then when they go watch their their kids play, then they treat the officials the same way. And a lot of those officials that are working, though that level their kids, they're 1516 years old, and they have a bad experience, and they don't want to do it again. So I think it's just remembering that that like in any profession, they're just people, they're trying to do their best. Yes, they're there. They're they're highly trained, they're well compensated at the NFL level, they're supposed to get the you know, the majority of the calls, right? But just remember that, and I've said this before, if you watch a game on TV, and you have you know, four or five different angles and slow motion and all that you go, oh my god, how could that official miss it? Go watch the game on the sideline, right watch the game, full speed on the sideline, and you've come away going? I don't know how they get anything. Right. Like it's amazing that they're that right that much of the time. And it's such a big deal just making sure that we remember that they're their people too. And, and, and, you know, they're not just something that to be yelled at and stuff. It's

Joe Malkin:

there's there's been so many people in their home sitting on their couch drinking Coors Light, not a sponsor, you saying Damn you, Dean blandino for years.

Rob Kelly:

So So partnering right off of that question I have to ask of all the fan bases who sit on their couch and yell at you and tweet at you. Who is the most irrational for when for when that call bad call comes in? Who do you hear from the most out of everyone.

Dean Blandino:

That's it. Good question. So, obviously, for me, cowboys fans and I have a special but they're not even, like we have a special relationship because of the desert. So they're going to give me they're going to give me a lot of crap. In that, that's fine. It's a give or take, we get it right. And the but the really the one fan base, and it's a college fan base, that they are irrational. They don't and I'll just come on and if if my opinion doesn't go for their team, it's like I am. I'm a war criminal. And it's Ohio State, like, Ohio State fans are like your team is really good. Like you've got You're the best in the big 10 you're one of the best in the country, you're going to play for national championships. They are very, they're playing Rutgers, like you're playing Rucker and they're mF ping me on Twitter because I disagreed with a call. So you know, it's I like to have fun with people on social media. I've only I think I've probably only blocked like two people just because they were so annoying. Not because they said anything particularly persistent. You know, bad. It was just like, Okay, you got to stop like tweeting at me like this is this. Because I yeah, they were very persistent or dming. Me, like just reminders that they hate me. And I'm like, that's fine. Okay.

Unknown:

Noted. No, yeah, exactly.

Dean Blandino:

The one guy I was like, I just, I was like, I love you too. Goodbye. Because I do want to answer like legitimate questions. And I can't like with all the just the nonsense, it's hard to sometimes.

Joe Malkin:

How do you keep it straight between the NFL and the NCAA rule books? Because they're so different. And and to that end, I mean, one rule that I've always kind of thought should be a uniform rule is the one foot two foot rule on a catch. Which way it because I'm very curious on on your end of this, which way do you think that should be one one foot or two?

Dean Blandino:

What I think again, I like the way it is now. Because when you think about and sometimes we forget, with college football, the college football rules are going to apply to Ohio State and they're going to apply to Austin Peay, right, they're going to apply to every level of college football. So one foot, right, the athlete is not as good, that's going to promote offense, that's going to be a good thing. When you get to the NFL, right? This is supposed to be the best of the best, you should be able to get both feet down. That's what makes it that much better. So, so I kind of like that. But it is, it is hard. And my foundation is all NFL rules. That's what I learned from 24 years old. So for me, the college rules are much harder to keep straight because I don't have that foundation. And I work really hard just to try to keep keep up to speed with the college rules. And I still kind of just mess up sometimes because, you know, I'm always I always go back. My fallback is always NFL. And then there are like you said, there are a lot of differences.

Joe Malkin:

That's the answer.

Michael Marcangelo:

Yes, no, that's a great answer. Now I'm going to have that as my talk track. Whenever somebody says Why don't they change that role? You also mentioned in your last kind of statement that that you wanted to save your time for people who are asking serious questions. So in in honoring that, my last question to you would be if you were a wrestler, what would your gimmick be? And would you be a baby face or a heel?

Dean Blandino:

Um, you know, I've thought about this a lot. I love, love.

Rob Kelly:

I love how that's how you started that I have to say,

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, my, uh, you know, my 10 year old son is a big wrestling fan. We've obviously been lucky enough to go to a couple of shows. And I here's I actually have a character that I want to pitch an actual thing. Like, I'm serious about this, and I'm gonna run this by you guys. Yeah, you're going to be my test. You're going to be my test. Okay, so I'm going to be a heel. But I'm going to play myself and I'm going to be the WWE is hiring a director of officiating, okay. I am in charge of all the referees, but I'm completely crooked. And I do. And we overturn matches for the heels. And I'm behind the room. And I just like, like, we'll go to a show in Dallas, and I'll make you know, I'll make fun of Dez like I that I legitimately want to be that person. And I think it could be I think it has legs.

Michael Marcangelo:

100% but but the former owner of the xfl I think he has a little bit to do with the wrestling product that's out there. No, I

Dean Blandino:

do know Vince and I have a line to Vince. So I am I am going to pitch this at some point.

Rob Kelly:

We're behind you.

Craig D'Alessandro:

Yes, character.

Rob Kelly:

Yeah. Well, you tweet at us once that goes down. And we will make sure we spread that word so fast that you will be a hill before you know it.

Michael Marcangelo:

Well, obviously, you know, Dean, thank you so much for taking the time before we let you go. I want you to I want to give this I'll give you a chance to tell people where they can find you and what they can you know, if they want to learn everything, everything about Dean blandino Where do they go?

Dean Blandino:

Yeah, I mean go I mean, you mentioned Mike prayer and I do a kind of a video podcast if you will, on on last call. Last call. You can find it on Facebook. Check out the Fox Sports page on Twitter. I'm on Twitter at Dean blandino. I've I've been I've had a podcast called good good calls we're in kind of looking at tweaking that a little bit so we haven't been recording episodes lately but hopefully that'll be back but just check me out on Twitter at Dean blandino. And I'd love a love legitimate questions if you want to give me a little crap that's fine too.

Michael Marcangelo:

Awesome. Well, Dean again, thank you so much for taking the time this is it's been awesome just kind of talking with you and kind of diving through your history and kind of into your head about what's coming in the NFL what's been happening. So for Broadway Joe Malkin, the real BK Bob Kelly, the best executive producer in the game, Craig D'Alessandro, and our especially St. blandino. My name is Michael Mark Angela, we're signing off.

Craig D'Alessandro:

Thanks for listening to this episode of missing the point. missing the point is the one hour weekly to our monthly podcast recapping the biggest stories in the worlds of sports with a New England flavor. The show notes and transcript of today's episode can be found in the description box below, as well as on our website www dot MTP show.com. If you're new to the show, consider subscribing. It's the easiest way to see when we publish new episodes. We are on iTunes, Spotify, Google and wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to rate us and leave a review of any of our shows. We always appreciate your feedback. Also, be sure to follow us on all of our social medias. All of our links will be in the show notes and check out our brand new website, www dot MTV show.com. That's MTV show.com. For all of us here at missing the point. I'm Craig D'Alessandro. We'll talk to you next time.

Dean Blandino

FOXSports , NFL and NCAA Football Rules Analyst

An integral part of FOX’s NFL and college football coverage, Dean Blandino offers viewers insight into plays, calls and circumstances that warrant rules interpretation or explanation. Together with Mike Pereira, he hosts the LAST CALL WITH MIKE PERIERA AND DEAN BLADINO podcast – providing noteworthy anecdotes on the league’s toughest decisions. He also serves as the National Coordinator of Instant Replay for the NCAA.

Blandino was first introduced to the world of officiating nearly two-and-a-half decades ago when he was hired as an NFL intern. That sparked an illustrious career as he quickly rose to become an Instant Replay Official (1999-03) and was selected to work two Super Bowls and two conference championships.

During his time in charge of officiating (2013-16), Blandino oversaw the NFL’s noteworthy fulltime hire of line judge Sarah Thomas, the league’s first female official. Blandino ended his remarkable tenure as Vice President of Officiating and is held in high regard for crucial input on system upgrades and an early adoption of technological transformations.

In 2009, Blandino formed his own company called “Under the Hood” which offered training and evaluation for instant replay officials. His clients included the NFL in addition to the Big Ten, Mid-American, Pac-12, Big 12 and Mountain West college football conferences.

An advocate of sports equality, Blandino is an Executive Producer of “Her Turf,” a documentary following three female football referees as they bravely attempt to level the playing field.

Blandino currently serves as the National Director of Instant Replay for football for the NCAA. Born and raised in Bellmore, New York, Blandino graduated from Hofstra University in 1993.