As chronicled by ESPN's Sports Guy during the season's first Monday Night Football telecast, NFL officiating is not always ready for prime time. Forget instant replay. The most important technological breakthrough that can potentially impact how the games are judged (or at least how we scorn refs as spectators) will come via mobile applications. Too bad there are not any good ones available already.
There are few meaningful app options to specify what constitutes encroachment or specify how many yards from scrimmage a defensive back can make contact with a receiver.
Sport Rule Book includes the NFL among the 20+ college and professional rule books it aggregates. But does America's game really need to co-mingle with NCAA Bowling? The app, which comes in web-based and locally stored versions, provides comprehensive but difficult-to-read rule definitions and officiating guidelines.
All the rules you need to know are contained within the app, but the text is assembled onto blank white documents that require readers to adjust the screen in order to read what is on the page. Someone needs to throw a penalty flag on usability here.
Another app called iReferee does a good job explaining what various officiating signals mean but it requires Internet access for any explanation of the rules. Good luck logging on at the stadium.
The NFL puts its name and likeness behind video games (Madden 10, NFL 2010) and there are hundreds of sites that detail everything you want to know about your home squad or fantasy team.
So why isn't there a standalone app that not only details what a referee's call means, but what the official rule is that the referee is interpreting?
The world needs an NFL rule book app. What are the league or independent developers waiting for?