Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel let every NFL referee, coach and general manager know exactly how he felt about the league’s officiating this week when he hit the infamous “reply all” button on a league memo.
Vrabel called for “consistent” tenure in his email response, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, after the league sent club coaches and GMs their weekly video on the calls of the week. The response was polite in its wording but smeared with passive aggressiveness:
“I appreciate the time and energy that goes into these videos,” Vrabel reportedly wrote, “but I suggest we spend every minute of our office departments’ time making sure our office teams are as trained in the explanations we’ve worked to create in the off season and that every crew is as consistent as possible. Thank you.”
Schefter added that Vrabel “deliberately” responded all to the memo to “send a message and emphasize that the NFL needs to clean up its officiating mistakes.”
This comes days later three controversial rough the passerby penalties were named in two days during the Week 5 slate: One on the Los Angeles Chargers against Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissettone against the Atlanta Falcons on Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and final against the Kansas City Chiefs on Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
Current and former players and coaches criticized the callsand a Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Joneswho was penalized against the Raiders, even suggested that the league adopt video replay for roughing the passer penalties. Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay told the Associated Press that repetition would be a “wise way”. The league’s competition committee will reportedly discuss these penalties at the NFL’s owner’s meeting in New York later this month, but will not plan in-season rule changes according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.
While video review makes sense in theory, it has failed to curb bad calls in the past. Remember the NFL’s one-year pass interference replay review in 2019? It lasted just one year after NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said that it “failed miserably”.
Roughing the passer calls are also down 45 percent from this point last year, according to ESPN.
So while Vrabel and a host of others inside and outside the NFL aren’t happy about the officiating, it’s unclear if anything more than a stern email and a few longer conversations will be done to turn things around — at least for now.