Happy New Year: May 15 marks the start of the officiating season Pop the champagne and bust out the fireworks, as today, we ring in the new year. May 15 marks the first day of the NFL officials being “in season” following the offseason “dark period”, which begins after the Super Bowl. This period is provided to the officials as a way for them to devote more time to their other jobs, and is mandated by the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLRA. Their first correspondence from the officiating triumvirate of senior vice president of training and development Walt Anderson, senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron, and senior vice

Throwback to the 1986 playoffs: John Madden likes officials who sweat

The New York Giants were a few minutes away from dispatching another victim on their way to a Super Bowl Championship. On January 4, 1987, the Giants were in the process of destroying the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 49-3. The players, coaches and officials were ready for the game to be over, get into the locker room out of the gale at The Meadowlands and take a nice hot shower. The folks at CBS were assuredly disappointed in the lopsided score. Joe Montana had been knocked out of the game in the first half, effectively ending any 49ers hopes.


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


Alternate officials will keep their eye out for simulated substitutions, after the Packers attempted it twice

Embed from Getty Images Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers loves to move his offense to the line of scrimmage quickly and snap the ball in an attempt to catch the defense off-guard, and perhaps with too many men on the field. Even the late great Alex Trebek knew this. However, in last weekend's Divisional Playoff between Rodgers' Packers and the Los Angeles Rams, the crew was able to stop the tactic by holding up play to allow for equal substitution. Early in the first quarter of the game, the Rams were penalized for too many men on the field, as their

The NFL umpire is more stationary this season

This year, Walt Anderson, senior vice president of officiating training and development, trained the officials to get in position and be stationary at the apex of a play. The philosophy is that a stationary official's eyes will be still and he'll be able to zero in and focus on the play. Over the years, the umpire has been one of the most fleet of foot officials. He had to put on his dancing shoes when lined up in the defensive backfield. When the NFL moved the umpire into the offensive backfield, he did much more running in order to chase the