Beginning in the 2014 preseason, the National Football League will test out a new plan that will use an eighth official in hopes of cutting down on missed calls during the game. The NFL Network announced the news on Friday morning.
Since 1978, the NFL has used seven man referee crews to call the game, but the league is hoping an extra set of eyes will help limit the poor calls that plagued the NFL last season.
The eighth official will be positioned in the backfield.
While the test will play out over the course of the preseason, there is still plenty of work to do before we would see eight officials calling a regular season game.
The league will have to look back on the preseason games and determine the amount of calls that were missed with the extra man on the field. If it turns out that the additional referee helped limit mistakes, then the league would need to spend money and resources to train extra officials to ensure they have a qualified referee added to each crew.
If the move helps limit bad calls, then it is an obvious win for the league and a change that will need to be made.