The 2023 version of the XFL has really emphasized increased access for viewers, from listening in to conversations between coaches and players to real-time replay/rules explanations from XFL VP (officiating and playing rules innovation) Dean Blandino on the broadcasts. But increased access comes with increased opportunities for accidental revelations. And that appeared to happen in some form on the Seattle Sea Dragons-Orlando Guardians broadcast on ABC Saturday.
There, Blandino gave a rules explanation on why a false start protection didn’t apply. But then, after he was off camera. a hot mic appeared to catch him saying “We actually screwed that up.” It’s not 100 percent confirmed it was him with no visual, but it did sound like him. And while the “we actually screwed that up” could be about something unrelated, or about a related-but-minor element of the call (perhaps which player was identified), the timing here certainly wasn’t an ideal look:
A hot mic appeared to catch XFL VP (officiating and playing rules innovation) Dean Blandino saying "We actually screwed that up," shortly after he explained a call on the ABC broadcast. pic.twitter.com/rHdi0bw0Oi
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) March 25, 2023
This is far from the worst hot mic disaster. And, as mentioned above, there are potentially explanations for this that aren’t quite as troubling. But the first idea that does come to mind here is that Blandino was referring to the call in question.
And if that was what happened, it’s not great for Blandino to spend that much time and effort defending the call publicly, only to admit to it being wrong when he thought he was no longer on air. And that does show how that increased access from that replay system in particular can go wrong. (It also was only one of the things that went wrong for the league in this game.)
[Awful Announcing on Twitter, H/T to Evan Pujkailo on Twitter]