Sky Judge Rule Proposal Has Been Reportedly Tabled

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Officials discuss a call during the first half of an NFL football game.

A booth umpire will not be added to NFL officiating crews next season, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported.

A joint proposal by the Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers called for a booth umpire or "sky judge" to be added as an eighth game official. The Ravens and Chargers also proposed the addition of a Senior Technology Advisor to the Referee to assist the officiating crew.

Neither idea will be voted on by owners, according to reports. Instead, the NFL will test an extended booth-to-official communication system during the preseason.

The sky judge proposal has been tabled again reportedly due to lingering questions about how much power a sky judge should have to overturn calls. Delaying adding a sky judge will allow for further debate and analysis.

Head Coach John Harbaugh has been a major proponent of adding the booth umpire to help officials make the correct call. The issue has been hotly debated since the missed obvious defensive pass interference in the 2018 Rams-Saints NFC Championship game.

"I know as a coach, what's the worst spot to watch the game from? Sideline," Harbaugh said at the 2019 Combine. "You see the least amount from the sideline. That's why you put coaches in the box. So we've got all this technology and the fans actually have a better view of the game from an officiating standpoint than the officials do.

"So these clear and obvious mistakes that are inevitably going to get made, it's not just one play in a championship game; it happens every single week, because the job is so tough and moves so fast and the angles aren't great. If we can put somebody up there in the box that has a better angle that can help officiate the game from up there, do that."

There was league-wide frustration over last year's one-year rule which allowed replay review of pass interference. That controversial one-year rule was not renewed.

A fourth-and-15 alternative to the onside kick is still expected to be voted on by owners.

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