NFL, CFL announce creation of a joint officiating development program

The NFL and CFL will work together to train refs. (USATSI)

The NFL announced on Friday morning that it will create an officiating development program in conjunction with the Canadian Football League (CFL).

As part of the program, NFL refs will have the opportunity to work CFL games in June and July prior to the league's annual officiating camp in late July. Per the league's press release, the NFL officials that work CFL games will primarily be assigned to the side judge and field judge roles so as to minimize the affect of rules differences between the two leagues.

"Any time our newer officials can get more reps on the field, during practices or games, that will make them better officials," NFL senior VP of officiating Dean Blandino said. "The collaboration with the CFL will certainly benefit us as we prepare for the 2016 season and we look forward to welcoming our CFL officiating counterparts to our development program later this spring."

The development program Blandino mentioned will see several CFL officials will train with top NFL officials by "attending NFL minicamps and training camps, officiating preseason games, studying position-specific film with veteran NFL officials, reviewing mechanics and analyzing rules differences between the NFL and other leagues, including the CFL and college football," per the league's press release.  

"This historic partnership gives officials in both leagues an opportunity to hone their craft and get better through shared development activities and more snaps at the pro level," CFL senior VP Glen Johnson said. "We're excited that a group of our officials will actively participate in the NFL Development Program and now have a formal path forward to be considered as prospects in their league."

Officials getting more experience prior to stepping on the field for the first time can only be a good thing. Making sure current officials get more reps before returning the following season -- NFL officials famously are not full-time employees of the league -- is a good thing. And expanding the officiating pipeline to include more candidates is also a good thing. his program should benefit all involved.

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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