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Dean Blandino, Vice President, Officiating and Rules Innovation

Dean Blandino is the Vice President of Officiating and Playing Rules Innovation of the XFL. In this role, Blandino oversees officiating operations and develops innovative playing rules to achieve the league’s goal of producing dynamic gameplay and a highly engaging and entertaining fan experience. He will report to Russ Brandon and Marc Ross.

Blandino returns to the league after serving as Head of Officiating during the 2020 season. In the role, Dean oversaw the identification of league officials, including six female officials (one on each officiating crew) – a key distinction in a field dominated by men – and helped develop several rules and broadcast innovations, including faster gameplay, unique return formations and rules, and the “shootout” OT tiebreaker. Importantly, Blandino was instrumental in the implementation and in-game functionality of the reimagined rules as well as the XFL’s forward thinking replay system.

Blandino worked in the NFL’s officiating department for nearly 20 years, starting as an intern and rose through the ranks to become the league’s first Senior Vice President within the Officiating Department. In his most recent role, Blandino oversaw the NFL’s noteworthy full-time hire of line judge Sarah Thomas, the league’s first female official in 2015, and implemented the Instant Replay consultation model in 2014, where he and members of his staff participated in replay decisions from the League office in New York. During his tenure Blandino held various roles, including Instant Replay official, Manager of Instant Replay, Director of Officiating and Vice President of Officiating.

In 2009, Blandino formed Under the Hood, Inc. a company that provided training to instant replay officials serving the NFL and several college football conferences. He also consulted with various technology companies regarding instant replay systems for football and other sports.

Blandino is also an NFL and college football rules analyst for FOX Sports and the National Coordinator of Instant Replay for the NCAA.

Blandino received a Bachelor of Arts in communications and media studies from Hofstra University.