Have at It: Can officiating be improved?

October, 27, 2010
10/27/10
11:30
AM ET
We usually save our discussion on officiating for the internationally celebrated Dirty Laundry feature. But given the magnitude of what we witnessed last weekend, the latest in a near-weekly series of controversy, I think it's time to go mainstream.

Have at It won't be as much of a debate this week as it will be an open forum for (hopefully) constructive dialogue. We all know that officiating in all sports is imperfect and that mistakes are part of the drama. But that doesn't mean we should just throw our hands up after seeing what we've seen. Quite simply, how would you fix officiating in the NFL?

[+] EnlargeAndrew Quarless
AP Photo/Mike RoemerSunday's Vikings-Packers game saw three touchdowns overturned and one TD catch by Andrew Quarless that could have been negated.
I offered one off-the-cuff suggestion during Tuesday's SportsNation chat: Add more officials to better cover the field. Now I'll throw it to you: What do you think?

Should the NFL seek out younger officials to keep up with a faster game? Make them full-time employees instead of weekend warriors? What about cutting back the rule book to focus enforcement on the most important aspects of the game? Should instant replay be expanded? Contracted? Or, do explanations exist behind the league's Iron Curtain that would help us better understand what's going on?

While I'm all for transparency, I can't imagine the NFL has a tidy explanation for what we've seen this season. Already, we've had the Detroit Lions lose a potential game-winning touchdown at Soldier Field. We've seen backward passes ruled incomplete. The Green Bay Packers absorbed 18 penalties, including a late-game pass interference call, in a three-point loss to the Chicago Bears. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has taken multiple hits to the helmet without penalty, while the eager toes of a reserve Packers linebacker educated all of us about the rights afforded to long-snappers.

But last weekend took the proverbial cake, starting with the Chicago Bears losing a touchdown on quarterback Jay Cutler's goal-line "fumble." Sunday night at Lambeau Field, we saw three touchdowns reversed by instant replay -- two correctly, one in surprising error -- while a fourth likely would have been overturned if it had been challenged.

Post your suggestions in the comment section below and feel free to debate them amongst yourselves. I'll publish the highlights, along with my own take, by the end of the week. For the love of God, Have at It.

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