AAF: New League Will use a “SkyJudge” to Officiate Games

Officiating is often criticized in all the sports. This is not just at the professional level either. From little leagues on up to the pros, the officials catch slack. The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is looking to minimize that criticism. The league announced on Thursday that they would use a real-time replay official. How will the league use this official and what does it mean going forward for the NFL?

How will the AAF use the official?

The “SkyJudge” will be available at all Alliance of American Football games. However, his main roles will be to catch missed calls that “obvious and egregious”. Per Mike Pereira, former head of NFL officials and rules analyst of FOX, the real-time official will be primarily responsible for player safety penalties and pass interference.

For example, a player commits a helmet-to-helmet penalty on another player. The on-field official misses the call. The “SkyJudge” will be able to radio down to the referee and call the infraction from the booth immediately. There will be no video review of the play. Pereira told the Associated Press, “He has the ability to do it in real-time. It doesn’t go to replay. . . . He can call down to the field and say, ‘Hey, spearing on No. 33 of Birmingham, 15-yard penalty, let’s go.’ It’s correcting errors on the field by another member of the officiating crew without having to go to replay to do it and having a three-minute stoppage to do it.”

What does the mean for the NFL?

The AFF is establishing itself as a developmental league for the NFL. Its model was never to compete with the league at all. I mentioned in a previous article that the NFL might want to use the AAF to test out rule changes prior to implementing them in the NFL. If the “SkyJudge” is successful in the AAF, the NFL may look at establishing such a position in the near future. If they would have had one in place, they could have avoided such debacles that happened in New Orleans.

How do you feel about the use of the “SkyJudge” in the AAF and the NFL? Leave a comment below.

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