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In a year of awakening, Big Ten fields a historic officiating crew

The Big Ten conference began its covid-19-belated season this weekend and officiating coordinator Bill Carollo put together a special crew for the Michigan-Minnesota game at Minneapolis, the home of George Floyd. Carollo put together an all African-American officiating crew to call the game for the first time at the Power Five level in history. R Larry Smith U Ed Feaster H William McKoy L Dorsey Skinner F Lamont Simpson S LaShell Nelson B Robert Smith Jr. C Greg Nelson Alt Calvin Diggs Replay James Robinson Communicator Terry Young Timer Darrel Leftwich According to the conference, 22% of Big Ten football officials are minorities or women. Larry Smith and Reggie Smith are the current two Big Ten referees of color; current NFL referees Shawn Smith and Ron Torbert

Officials can now flag coaches for not wearing a mask

The NFL has given officials the authority to penalize coaches who "approach them in an innappropriate way" without a face covering, 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. This follows a Week 3 complaint by the NFL Referees Association that Baltimore Ravens coach, John Harbaugh, pulled his mask down and got in line judge Mark Steinkirchner's face to argue a play. http://www.footballzebras.com/2020/10/report-nfl-officials-union-complains-about-harbaugh-covid-19-violation-during-sideline-argument/ The NFL.com report further states that Perry Fewell, senior vice president of officiating, sent a memo to all teams on Friday that read in part: We have seen multiple occasions where head coaches have removed their masks to communicate with game officials during games.


NFL100: When John McDonough called The Longest Game on Christmas Day

It's always hard for officials to be away from home on a special holiday. So it was for referee John McDonough and his officiating crew, scheduled to work the Christmas Day divisional playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the visiting Miami Dolphins. McDonough, who officiated Super Bowl IV, and was a AFL and NFL referee from 1960 to 1973, lead a veteran crew that included umpire Frank Sinkovitz, head linesman Leo Miles, line judge Bill Swanson, field judge Bob Baur and back judge Adrian Burk.  The NFL had never scheduled a postseason game on Christmas. A few years before the

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Electronic whistles too quiet for stand-alone option

In order to prevent the spread of covid-19 through the air, the NFL and the NCAA wants its officials to wear a mask as much as possible. This means the officials have to modify their whistle technique. So, this year many officials are using electronic whistles (you can see the whistle tied to umpire Ramon George's belt in the photo above). These whistles allow the official to stay masked and not eject their breath from the traditional whistle. In short, the electronic whistle is too quiet. The whistle either lets out a warbling tone or an electronic screech. From what I've noticed

What happens when the crew doesn’t notice a challenge flag?

Embed from Getty Images In two different games from the Week 2 slate of NFL games, the challenge flag became a point of conversation. In the Sunday night game in Seattle, the crew failed to notice a challenge flag thrown by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick before the start of the next play, and in the afternoon thriller in Dallas, a sideline communicator took the field to stop the game and inform the crew about a thrown challenge flag. Just prior to the two-minute warning in the Falcons-Cowboys game, a deep pass that was caught at the sideline was challenged by