Dean Blandino says NFL replay system once crashed because employees microwaved Thanksgiving food


Three years removed from his time with the NFL, former head of officiating Dean Blandino has some interesting stories to tell about his time at the league office.

During an appearance on the “Mike Delivers” podcast, Blandino told host Mike Bisceglia that a microwave mishap almost created a very embarrassing moment for the NFL on one of its most important days.

As Blandino recalls, the league’s Gameday Central once brought in meals from Whole Foods for staff and their families during Thanksgiving in 2016. While an early game between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings was playing, someone plugged in a microwave that happened to share a circuit with the league’s remote replay system.

FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2012 file photo, referee Al Riverson steps out of the instant replay tent during the second quarter of an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Cleveland Browns, in Denver. League owners passed a rule Tuesday, March 25, 2014, allowing referees to consult with director of officiating Dean Blandino and his staff to help determine whether a call should be upheld or overturned. NFL officials said the change should speed up the process. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)
There is a decent chance a certain power outlet at NFL's Gameday Central has a large "DO NOT PLUG IN MICROWAVE" sign above it these days. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)

You can probably guess what happened from there. Here’s Blandino’s recollection:

We took the microwave, plugged it in, but they plugged it into the same outlet, the same circuit that the replay system was plugged into, and when they turned the microwave on, the whole thing went down. So we were down for maybe like two minutes while they fixed it. The game was going on, but thankfully we didn’t have any replay reviews, but we kind of shut down the system because we wanted to heat up the stuffing for Thanksgiving in the microwave.

Yup, all the Vikings and Lions needed was an iffy call at the right time to spark chaos at the NFL’s home office. Imagine Blandino or commissioner Roger Goodell having to explain what happened there.

Fortunately for all involved, that ended up not being the case. The Lions ended up winning 16-13 in thrilling fashion thanks to a Darius Slay interception.

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Originally published