PLANO, TX – There is no pressure when the tools needed to execute are at one’s finger tips. There’s no pressure when what needs to be done is always done.
The process of NFL officiating is clearly documented and firmly displayed by the NFL Caretakers long before they step onto the field.
The public and the media see the NFL changing rules every year to improve. In NFL officiating, the changes provide opportunities to get better. As long as the process does not change, pressure does not exist.
“I don’t feel any more pressure now than I did last year,” stated NFL referee Ron Torbert at the 2019 NFL Officiating Clinic. “We’ll still do what we do every week. Tony (Corrente) and I and the other 15 referees will do what we need to do to prepare our crews. Al (Riveron, NFL senior vice president of officiating) and the other supervisory staff in New York will continue to do what they do to help us.
“So, from that standpoint, I don’t feel any more pressure now than last year. We still want to get the play right.”
The process of officiating entails replay, which is now an important facet of the system. Corrente, a referee for 22 years, explained during his interview how the process has developed and has been refined.
“I became a referee in 1997 and replay was re-introduced. That was skepticism whether or not it was going to work,” said Corrente. “Over the past 22 years, we’ve seen it grow, develop and change, and it works. Now, our expectation is to roll with it, we will refine it and we will get it (the play) right.”
The annual tweaks are important and highly glamorized. The refreshers on the lesser known infractions are the ones NFL officials must monitor and be prepared to call, which are also detailed during the officiating clinic.
As the game evolves, the process evolves as well. While many outside NFL officiating believe pressure is the driving force for the officials, the NFL Caretakers simply want to take care of the game.
“For all of us, there’s no such thing as an offseason anymore,” echoed Torbert. “We are constantly in the rulebook, we’re constantly making sure we stay in shape. We get older every year. Players seem to stay the same age (laughter). And so, we want to make sure that we are at our absolute best so we can keep up with the changing rules, the change of playing styles and coaching philosophies. We all love the game and we love to study the game and continue to evolve our own skills as the game evolves.”
And with a proven process in place followed by proper motivation on all accounts, pressure is just an afterthought.