New Pro Football League to Add “Sky Judge”

After the infamous ‘no-call’ that cost the New Orleans Saints a shot at winning the NFC Championship Game in the NFL, the newly-formed AAF football league will add a “sky judge” than can correct officiating errors.


The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is a planned professional American football league founded by Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian. It is comprised of 8-teams and is set to commence play in February 2019.

According to the AAF, here’s how it will work

If the eye in the sky doesn’t lie — an old football expression that the tape of the game shot from atop the stadium doesn’t lie — then just imagine how valuable another two eyes will be for the Alliance of American Football.

When The Alliance season opens Saturday night in San Antonio and Orlando, the creative and safety conscious first-year league will put an official in the press box level with the jurisdiction to assess penalties for unsafe plays at any point during the game that the eight officials on the field miss. The sky judge also will have the authority, but only in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, to pick up or have flags thrown for defensive or offensive pass interference.

The moaning you just heard is from New Orleans.

“Back judge, field judge, side judge. Now we have the sky judge,” said Mike Pereira, who is overseeing The Alliance’s officiating department along with Dean Blandino. They each used to run the NFL’s officiating department.

The sky judge will not have the benefit of instant replay unless there is a stoppage of play and time allows. The sky judge can’t stop the game to look at a replay.

The decisions will be made in real time but they also have the benefit of a 360-degree view of the field from above that the officials down below in the middle of the action don’t share. That will give the sky judge a better angle on whether there is a helmet-to-helmet hit or a blindside hit that should be penalized if the officials on the field didn’t see it and whether there is a game-altering pass interference play.

“If errors can be corrected in 15 seconds and hardly interrupt the flow of the game, then why not try it?” Pereira said. “I just don’t see this being a lot different than having another official on the field. You see it all the time when they have a crew conference. This is just an extension of that.”

It will be a quick operation: sky judge makes the decision, relays it to the referee to either assess a penalty or pick it up and re-spot the ball.

“Mike has been talking about it in concept for quite some time,” said Alliance co-founder Bill Polian.


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