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Today’s Pro Bowl the swan song for two NFL officials

Two officials will end their career at today's Pro Bowl in Orlando. While Pro Bowl retirement games meant more when played in Hawaii, it will still be a special moment in Orlando this evening as umpire Jeff Rice and down judge Mike Spanier will work their final game. Mike Spanier Mike Spanier joined the NFL in 1999, working in referee Ed Hochuli's crew. Over the years he worked on crews lead by Larry Nemmers, Jeff Triplette, Walt Coleman, Bill Vinovich and John Parry. For a few seasons (including this season) he served as a swing official, who worked either as a line judge

Blue-ribbon panel rejects Art McNally for Hall of Fame, leaving no official enshrined for NFL’s 100th anniversary

In a disappointing move, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will not have a game official in the Hall of Fame for its centennial celebration, despite having relaxed its rules for one year only. Art McNally, 94, a former referee and the head of officiating in the NFL from 1968 to 1990, was one of 10 finalists under consideration for a contributor-class slate of three individuals. For the 100th anniversary of the league's founding, the Hall of Fame suspended the normal process by expanding the contributors slate and by having a separate blue-ribbon panel have a final vote on the enshrinements.

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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

Mechanics

Working the official? Putting a bug in their ear? What exactly was Kyle Shanahan doing?

In this week's Inside the NFL on Showtime, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan can be seen and heard doing what's known as "working the official," that is, alerting the official to potential things an opposing team is doing or might do that is a violation of the rules. This can lead many fans and players alike to proclaim that a given official is in the tank for a given team or coach. That is not the case. Before each game at all levels, the officials will meet with the coaches of both teams. The purpose is to: Make sure all players are

Getting back on the horse: officials must focus on recovering from a bad game

Every official in every sport from the peanut league to the pros has had that moment. They come off the field to boos from the fans, glares from coaches, and dour faces from their supervisors. The official or crew has had a bad game. Whether it was one bad call in a big moment or the official or their crew didn't have it that night, it is an awful feeling. Officials are used to having fans, coaches and talking heads say they had a terrible game and made terrible calls -- that happens every week and game film almost always exonerates

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