Dean Blandino stepped down as head of NFL officiating this morning, reportedly for a job on television. Which television job? After a wild morning of tail-chasing, it appears Fox is the likely landing place.
Fox did not immediately respond to The Big Lead’s request for comment.
This caps a meandering morning following the story. First, both Mike Florio and Adam Schefter, citing multiple sources, reported CBS was the likely landing spot.
CBS told The Big Lead in February that they were “not looking to fill the rules expert position” in regards to Blandino, a position reiterated this morning. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal was also informed no talks between the network and Blandino were taking place.
Working down the list of possibilities, a source with knowledge at ESPN, not authorized to speak on the record, says it is not their network. Further, it seems unlikely that Schefter would report Blandino was headed somewhere other than Bristol if that were, in fact, Blandino’s ultimate destination. More likely, he would be silent if it was an internal ESPN move and a future colleague.
Similarly, Florio, who works with Sunday Night Football on NBC and with Pro Football Talk, would not have mentioned CBS if he knew it was someone who would be working with his network. NBC, a network that doesn’t really need a rules expert for its two weekly games, has also been retweeting the Florio story — an odd move if they were welcoming Blandino into the fold.
The process of elimination suggests Fox is a good bet. For what it’s worth the biggest NFL reporter not to chime in on this story, since we’ve heard from Ian Rapoport, Mike Florio, and Adam Schefter, is . . . Jay Glazer of Fox, who has not tweeted since last night. (Glazer was also, by the way, on the Dallas Cowboys party bus when Blandino was spotted exiting it three years ago).
Combine that with Fox’s silence on this topic so far, and with Florio’s latest reporting that the earlier CBS report was inaccurate and that Fox was the likely destination, and make of it what you may. If Blandino to Fox does come to bear, it will be interesting to see what impact it has on Mike Pereira in the short- and long-term.