Replay officials collaborate with senior officiating staff members in Art McNally Gameday Central (AMGC) in New York and the game’s referee to ensure a timely and accurate review. They oversee a team that includes a video operator, replay technicians, replay field communicators and a replay assistant.
Replay officials have specific responsibilities on every play and throughout the game.
They must analyze the game situation before every play, verify the clock status at the beginning and end of every play, and confirm that each team has the correct number of players on the field at the snap.
Replay officials also assist on-field officials as needed with game administration responsibilities, including rules and penalty application, and assisting the crew with the clock.
Throughout the game, replay officials monitor all aspects of the play in case there is a challenge that leads to a review. This includes being ready to select from the best available broadcast angles for a potential consultation with AMGC and the referee.
Replay officials are solely responsible for confirming all plays that result in a score or turnover and all try attempts. They also are responsible for stopping the game to initiate a review on any play that starts after the two-minute warning in each half and throughout overtime.
Replay officials, like their on-field counterparts, must be thoroughly prepared and maintain mastery of the NFL Rulebook.
Each week during the season, replay officials participate in review sessions with their assigned crews, where they go over all replay and administrative decisions from the previous week’s games. They are tested weekly on the rules and prepare by continuously studying the rules and casebook plays and officiating and replay training tapes. They are also responsible for preparing and presenting a pertinent replay topic for discussion during their crew’s pregame meeting each week.
Preparation continues into the offseason, as the league hosts an annual replay mini-clinic to prepare for the upcoming season. Replay officials also attend the NFL Officiating Clinic in July, where they participate in rules and mechanics study sessions and again are tested on their knowledge of the rules.
To maintain a pipeline of talent, the Officiating department scouts and prepares replay officials at other levels of the game. The department also identifies candidates in a variety of ways.
Replay officials usually are hired first as replay assistants and are then considered for promotion based on their performance and mastery of that role. Several Replay Officials are former on-field officials who have transitioned off the field.
Replay Assistants often come from the college ranks and are recommended by replay supervisors on the strength of their work at that level. Some come from other roles within the NFL, including NFL GameDay Assistants such as replay video operators, replay field communicators or clock operators.