Dean Blandino is on the outs with the NFL. One of the officiating head honchos had grown to be a controversial figure in the league. He has led the charge to increase player safety, but has arguably done so at the expense of the core of the sport of Football. Since 2013, he has led the charge to lead the league into a new era. Now, he'll be leading himself into new ventures after choosing to resign from the NFL, effective next month.

Moving on to other opportunities

According to a memo from the NFL, Blandino will remain in his current role, at least through the end of May, until the league can find the proper successor to him.

League vice president Troy Vincent released a statement discussing the "outstanding" job he has done. His de facto rule over the officiating of the sport left a lasting impact on how the game is played, both in the league and in organizations that look to the league for leadership in various capacities.

Blandino seems to have his sights set on the television side of the business going forward. He reportedly has had discussions with several networks about moving into the role of a rules analyst, a position past referee officials have had success in after their time in the NFL. He is currently just 45 years old and one of his reasons for leaving the league is to spend more time with his young family.

A polarizing legacy in the NFL

Blandino's story is the classic narrative of somebody climbing the professional rungs presented by an organization.

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He joined the NFL back in 1994 as an intern and rose through the corporate ranks. He worked two Super Bowls as an instant replay official before managing the entire instant replay program for several years. He became the director of officiating in 2007 and ascended to his current position after a brief time away from the NFL in 2013, succeeding Carl Johnson in the role.

Under his stewardship, the NFL has changed immensely. Chopped blocks were eliminated, kickoffs were moved up, and the amount of people considered "defenseless players" on the field. He also brought the implementation of Surface tablets for the coming year to help with replay reviews. A staunch defender of his officials, but also an open critic when they erred, Blandino also became better known in 2015 when he hired Sarah Thomas to be a line judge; she became the first full-time female referee in the history of the league, a step in the right direction for a sport stuck in its machismo ways.