Inside Art McNally GameDay Central
Step inside AMGC, the hub of NFL replay review
Step inside AMGC, the hub of NFL replay review
The seven officials on the field made the vast majority of calls without replay review. But when a play requires review, replay officials in each stadium and replay decision makers and technicians in Art McNally GameDay Central are standing by to make sure the right call is made.
Art McNally GameDay Central (AMGC) is the hub of the NFL’s replay review process. Launched in 2014 and located at league headquarters, the AMGC uses state-of-the-art technology to help officials make crucial instant replay decisions.
On gamedays, AMGC staff assist in reviewing and officiating key plays:
The AMGC is active for every NFL game — from Thursday night to Monday night, beginning in the preseason and going all the way through the Super Bowl.
The room fills up hours before kickoff. Before the games begin, staff conduct technology checks to ensure they can communicate with officials at each stadium and see video of every game.
A designated AMGC technician is assigned to monitor each game. And three AMGC decision makers — Perry Fewell, Walt Anderson, and Jon Berger — make final replay decisions. Each supervisor is assigned to up to four games at a time, with assistance from support staff.
NFL Sundays are the busiest inside the AMGC as staff monitor multiple games simultaneously — up to nine games at once during the 1 p.m. ET window.
Inside the AMGC, there are 16 stations, each set up to show a designated game on a 58-inch touch-screen monitor. An AMGC technician is assigned to each station. The stations are powered by Hawk-Eye technology. Since 2021, the NFL has used Hawk-Eye to review multiple time-synchronized angles of the same play — enabling replay officials and AMGC staff to make faster and more accurate decisions. The AMGC can access every camera angle that the TV network records — including camera angles you may not see on TV in real-time — and it is all facilitated at each station by Xbox controllers.
With the technicians at their stations, the three AMGC decision makers and other NFL staff members can monitor as many as 12 games displayed at a single time across three 90-inch TVs. Staff can control the audio for the entire room, switching to a specific game when there is a flag or a replay review.
Both the AMGC technicians and the three decision makers can communicate directly with replay officials at the stadium and officials in the field using the official-to-official — or O2O — communications system. For most of the game, however, the AMGC will avoid contacting the officiating teams at the stadium so as not to distract them from their important roles. It is only when a replay review situation arises that the AMGC will initiate communication with the officials on-site.
The AMGC team assists throughout the course of each game. All scoring plays and turnovers are automatically reviewed, as are any clock issues that arise. In addition, the AMGC staff handle coaches’ challenges and situations that fall under the NFL’s Replay Assist rule.
When a situation arises that requires a review, the AMGC technician assigned to that game first confirms the ruling on the field by communicating with the replay official at the stadium and then alerts one of the officiating decision makers.
While the referee on the field stops play for the review, the AMGC staff reviews the different angles of the play using Hawk-Eye technology. Replay officials at the stadium and the AMGC staff simultaneously review multiple camera angles and select the best options to rule on the play under review.
If the AMGC staff and decision makers believe there is reason to overrule the on-field ruling, they will alert the replay official and the on-field referee. At that time, the instant replay field operator will bring a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet onto the field so the referee can review the play. Up to four selected synchronized camera angles can be sent to the tablet during replay reviews.
Overturning a ruling on the field requires clear and obvious video evidence. The referee, replay officials, and the AMGC staff all confer while they watch the replay. Then, a collaborative decision is made.
After a decision is reached, the replay officials in the stadium confirm with the AMGC the final ruling; where the ball will be placed on the field; the possession, down, and distance; the number of timeouts and challenges the team has remaining; and the time on the game and play clocks.
Finally, the referee will remove the headset and announce the ruling on the field.
The AMGC’s work does not stop when the games do. Staff members “tag” every play so they can be searched later in a database. Some plays are bookmarked for further review by game officials or by the NFL Competition Committee — to help officials evaluate their performance, for future training purposes, to assess if a player should be fined, or for potential rule changes in the upcoming offseason.
The AMGC also communicates with coaches and other club personnel to share the rationale for calls that were overturned or upheld during replay review.
As technology has improved, so has the instant replay process. The AMGC will continue to orchestrate reviews, so officials can efficiently make the best call with all the information available.