NFL has informed officials not to use index cards to help determine first down
The NFL said earlier in the week that referee Gene Steratore did nothing wrong when he used a note card to illustrate that the Dallas Cowboys had gained a first down on Sunday night, but we probably won’t see the unorthodox method going forward.
In a conference call with the media on Thursday, NFL head of officiating Al Riveron said a memo has been sent to all of the league’s officials informing them not to use index cards or pieces of paper when measuring for a first down.
NFL head of officiating Al Riveron confirms he has told referees not to use paper to help them determine a first down spot, as Gene Steratore did on Sunday night during Cowboys-Raiders.
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) December 21, 2017
The league originally defended Steratore, but the bizarre decision resulted in a lot of negative attention. Steratore insisted after the game that he used nothing but his naked eye to determine that the nose of the football was touching the pole, noting that he only used an index card as “reaffirmation.”
If you watched the series of events unfold, it almost seemed surreal. Even if there’s no written rule preventing officials from doing what Steratore did, something was clearly off about it.