News

Tony Corrente, the longest-tenured active NFL referee, is one of 8 retiring officials

Football Zebras exclusive At least seven on-field officials and one replay official are retiring at the end of this season, says a memo circulated to the officiating staff according to two sources with knowledge of the memo's contents. One of those eight officials is 27-year veteran referee Tony Corrente; his retirement is the ninth referee retirement in the last five seasons. Corrente began officiating in 1971 as part of both the Long Beach and San Gabriel Valley Football Officials Associations in California. Following his high school officiating, he was hired to the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (Big West Conference) in 1981, and

A shocking 3 officials miss all or parts of 3 games in Week 17

In an unprecedented situation, three NFL officiating crews worked all or part of three games with six-person crews. To the best of our memories, we cannot recall two crews working an official down on one day, let alone three. Hochuli crew starts with six Down judge Ed Camp did not start Giants-Bears game. Apparently it was a late-breaking situation because the NFL tries to make sure all games have crews of seven. (We do not recall a time when a game started one official down.) During the game, line judge Greg Bradley worked down judge. Side judge Chad Hill came up and worked

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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

In the chaos of a fumble scrum, how officials seek a quick resolution of possession

Football officials have mechanics for everything. Believe it or not, they even have mechanics for a pile up and fumble scrum. It is critical for the officials to get to the bottom of the pile and determine possession as soon as possible. First of all, possession can change hands under the pile. Secondly, the longer it takes to rule on possession, the more frustrated and angry players and coaches become. So, when there is a fumble and pile up, here's what should happen: The first official on the scene hits the dirt or turf and starts digging into the pile trying to

For NFL officials, thankfully it is not 2020 anymore

When I wrote a recap of the 2020 season, I closed my column by saying "may we never again have another like it." This season, covid-19 is still with us, but for the officials, it will not be a repeat of 2020. Vaccines The NFL reported that 99% of its employees have been vaccinated. Getting the vaccine is a condition of employment. Hopefully, this vaccine will help prevent officials from getting sick, and we won't see a repeat of the frantic Week 17 massive substitutions from last year. More crowded sideline During a game, media members, photographers, cheerleaders, support staff and other sideline guests, have

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