The NFL botched the international showcase of Monday Night Football; it won’t when it comes to officiating.
The Monday night matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum will feature only officials that are considered “all-stars,” per Kevin Seifert of ESPN.
Referee Clete Blakeman will work the game with only two members of his regular crew, umpire Ramon George and down judge Dana McKenzie. The other five officials -- including Jim Lapetina, who will handle replay -- were plucked from four other crews.
This is a process the NFL usually uses for playoff football. Seifert’s fellow ESPN reporter, Adam Schefter, called the move “unprecedented” on Twitter.
NFL pulled five members of referee Clete Blakeman’s crew and replaced them with high-performing officials from other crews for Monday night’s Chiefs-Rams game, which is very unusual, if not unprecedented, per @SeifertESPN. Usually this is how the NFL staffs playoff games.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 18, 2018
I find this move makes all the sense in the world.
While Chiefs-Rams is not a playoff game, it ought to be, at least when it comes to to the television ratings the game should draw.
There are so many reasons for that: two 9-1 teams increases the likelihood of high-quality football, national fans will want to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes, the return games for Sammy Watkins (if he plays) and Marcus Peters, and at the same time, no competition, as it’s the final game of the week.
With so many eyes watching, the last thing the league wants is the game to be decided by the zebras.