National Football League (NFL) does not have a “sky judge;” a jury official who watches the match on the TV and tells the on-field referees about anything they miss during the game. However, Tony Romo seemingly served this job well at the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.
Tony Romo is known as the commentator who provides accurate game predictions for the audience. All in all, his thirteen predictions out of fifteen were found correct during the AFC playoffs. This time, however, Romo took the limelight by beseeching a late penalty from the referees in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s AFC championship game.
With the Titans’ defence against Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter, Romo noted 12 players on the field from Tennessee. Pointing out this discrepancy, Romo mocked the officials for how long it took them to throw the flag.
The referees took a while to configure the situation, and as teams broke from a timeout called by Titans, they finally announced a penalty. Meanwhile, Romo provided a joking narration of the refs’ situation and the audience’s confusion on the broadcast:
“There’s a flag which they should have called 10 minutes ago when I said there were 12 people on the field. I think they just decided to start talking about it now: ‘Can they play with 12?’ ‘Nope, it’s 11.’ ‘You’re sure?’ ‘Yes. Can’t play with 12. We’ve still got that rule.'”
It is believed that Romo’s commentary may have been the actual reason why the flag was thrown. According to Former NFL referee Terry McAuley’s tweet, it seems like the New York officiating office contacted the referee on the field after Romo’s conjure.
Romo continued mocking the referees and said:
“They could have just heard us say it and said, ‘Hey listen, by the way, someone says we had 12 out there.’”
Although Romo witnessing a potential penalty before the referees do not speak well for the officials, it can’t be denied that a booth with a monitor has a better field coverage. Thus, positioning an official as a “sky judge” in NFL games can help cover this front.