During the second week of the NFL preseason, the league will be testing out two new procedures related to its use of officials: The NFL will have an extra official on the field and officials will use Microsoft Surface Tablets for instant replay purposes.
For 13 games this week, the NFL will use eight-person crews instead of seven-person crews, which has been the standard size since 1978. According to a statement released by the NFL, the eighth official is being brought on in an attempt to reduce "the number of times an official is responsible for multiple areas of the field that may not be in proximity to each other."
For some of the selected games, the eighth official will be positioned in the offensive backfield, focusing on the center, and the guard and tackle closest to the official. This official will be known as "U2."
For the other slate of games, the eighth official will be 20 yards downfield, where the official will watch the interior of the offensive line, zeroing in on defensive holding penalties. This official will be known as "CJ."
As for the use of the tablets, the NFL will use Microsoft Surface Tablets for instant replay purposes during four games this week (10 total games through the first three weeks of the preseason) after previously experimenting with the tablets at this past year's Pro Bowl. The idea is to eliminate the time it takes for an official to use the sideline monitor, as tablets can be brought to the official on the field for a review.