Dean Blandino returns to XFL as VP of officiating, playing rules innovation

The XFL has rehired Dean Blandino in an expanded role as vice president of officiating and playing rules innovation, the league announced Tuesday.

Blandino had previously served as the XFL's officiating chief in 2020, following a stint in a similar role with the Alliance of American Football (AAF) in 2019. He was the NFL's senior vice president of officiating from 2013 to 2017. The XFL is under new ownership following a bankruptcy filing in 2020 and is currently operated by entrepreneur Dany Garcia, actor Dwayne Johnson and RedBird Capital Partners.

The league is expected to follow the 2020 version's commitment to reimagining the rules of football, a project Blandino will supervise in his new role.

"We have the rare opportunity to develop new, innovative rules for this league and Dean's unique perspective and expert experience are integral to achieving that before we hit the field in 2023," XFL president Russ Brandon said in a statement.

The NFL recruited Blandino to return to the league in 2020, but ultimately he decided to remain in his job as a Fox Sports analyst and officiating consultant.

In a statement, he said: "Football is a dynamic and ever evolving sport with increasing global appeal. From my time in the NFL through to the XFL, my focus has always been on bringing forward ideas and structure that can continue to support the game we love and allow it to grow into the future. Football is my passion and it's an exciting time to be a part of the XFL as they build a dynamic game that will appeal to fans and players."

In February, the XFL announced it will collaborate with the NFL on rules, equipment and officiating development player safety.