Former Super Bowl referee reveals dysfunction in the current NFL officiating ranks

Officiating has had its fair share of controversy this season for perceived inconsistency by the common fan and a noticeable increase in penalties. The officials on the field have taken much of the blame, some of it earned, but a sense of dysfunction in the system is beginning to permeate though the league. And one former referee has revealed on the record that the problem runs deep this year. Former referee Bernie Kukar was an official for 21 seasons and worked 20 postseason games, including 4 conference championships and Super Bowls XXXIII and XXXVI. He was a guest with Mike Max

Flag for Tracy Walker helmet hit should have been picked up

Analysis by Rich Madrid In Monday night’s week six game against the Packers, Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker was flagged for unnecessary roughness after going low to defend a pass from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to Geronimo Allison. Allison was injured on the play and did not return to the game but characterizing the hit as an unnecessary roughness penalty was a bit out of left field. As of Wednesday this week, Walker still had not heard from the league office. [Update 10/19: A league source tells Football Zebras that Walker will not be fined for the hit.] Walker said, “I couldn't have


NFL100: For half of NFL history, the official time was not on the scoreboard

Today, there are clocks all over our TV screens on Sunday. The TV graphics are hard wired into the stadium clock. The stadium clock is the official time. The side judge times the game on a watch, but that time on the watch only serves as a backup in case of a stadium clock malfunction or if the timekeeper makes an error; then the side judge can correct the scoreboard clock.  But, before 1970, the NFL stadium clock was the unofficial time and the officiating crew kept the "real" time on the field. The referee was the first official to keep


NFL100: The expansion of officiating crews followed the evolution of the game When the NFL was born, only three officials called the game. Now there are seven --nine if you include the replay official and replay assistant -- with calls to add another pair of eyes at field level. As a part of the NFL's 100th season, Football Zebras takes a look at officiating mechanics over the last century. Crews of 3 and 4: Trying to keep the play boxed in (1920-46) In the league's infancy, the teams hired three officials to work a game: the referee, umpire and head linesman. The college game was already using four officials when the NFL came on the

In addition to pass interference, replay is undergoing a ‘configuration change’ Replay reviews are going to be handled a little differently this season, simultaneous with the addition of pass interference into the mix. As Football Zebras reported in March, the replay booth underwent "configuration changes" in which several long-tenured replay assistants were dismissed. The replay official, who already monitors the live play, will have the replay assistant freed up from other tasks so as to be in more of a copilot role. For instance, the RO and the RA already do manual counts of the number of players on offense and defense as a backup to the on-field crews. The replay official, and