News

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.

Who will be the Super Bowl LIV referee? It looks like there is only one choice

Football Zebras analysis Every year, we try to sift through the tea leaves and narrow down the likely candidates for the Super Bowl. Given a combination of factors in previous years, once we were correct in December, other times we were a little guarded in the second week of the playoffs, and last year we were flat out wrong. This time, entering the divisional playoff round, we have a high degree of certainty we know the referee for Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2: Clete Blakeman. Again, we have an asterisk on there just to make sure the Clete Blakeman Fan Club does

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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

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

NFL100: A century of determining who gets the ball first

It is a simple procedure. The game can’t begin without it. Before any football game starts the referee has to decide who gets the ball first. That question has been decided by the coin toss for the past 100 years. The coin toss determines who gets the first choice of receiving the kickoff, what goal to defend, or deferring the first choice until the second half kickoff. The process has changed since Woodrow Wilson was president: 1921: The referee tossed the coin in front of the captains. Before that, the captains conducted their own coin toss and reported the results to the

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