Dean Blandino has great empathy for the man who replaced him as the NFL’s vice president of officiating.

Al Riveron, who currently has the job, has come under fire, along with the league’s officiating in general, in recent weeks. The criticism intensified with controversial decisions made in the playoffs, especially Saturday night’s wild-card playoff game between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs.

‘You can’t come out and say, ‘The officials missed this call or missed that call’ and basically identify every mistake’

Blandino, now an officiating analyst for FOX Sports, said the nature of the position he once held puts its occupant in difficult circumstances.

“It’s a tough spot, it’s a tough job,” Blandino told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “Because you can’t come out and say, ‘The officials missed this call or missed that call’ and basically identify every mistake. You’re trying to lead a group of people and that’s tough when you’re always throwing them under the bus.

‘We’re not going to come out and admit every mistake because mistakes are going to happen every game’

“But you also have the fans and the media and the coaches that deserve that transparency, and when you make a mistake, you have to admit it. It’s a balancing act.”

And one that Blandino is quick to admit he didn’t readily master. It took some time to reach a point where he fully understood the task.

‘I’m sure, as time goes on, it’ll get better’

“I always looked at, we’re not going to come out and admit every mistake because mistakes are going to happen every game,” Blandino said. “But on big plays like that, if the officials missed it, you’ve just got to come out and say, ‘Hey, that was a miss and we’re working to fix it.’

“I think that’s something that I didn’t learn that right away. That’s a learning curve when I started in the job. And I think Al has done a pretty good job all year, but dealing with those types of plays and understanding there’s a lot of different people, a lot of different stake-holders, that’s a big challenge. And I’m sure, as time goes on, it’ll get better.”

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