News

Officiating crews for the 2019 season

Football Zebras has obtained the officiating crew rosters for the 2019 NFL season. This season, there are six new officials to replace four that retired and one that was fired. There are also three veteran officials designated as swing officials, increasing last season’s bench by one. The swing officials will move between crews through the season, and include one umpire, one line-of-scrimmage official, and one deep wing. There are three new referees this season: Adrian Hill, Scott Novak, and Brad Rogers. They were promoted following the retirement of referees Walt Coleman, Pete Morelli, and John Parry. In past seasons a first-year referee

NFL sends 4 officials north to call CFL games

Two rookie NFL officials, one member of the Officiating Development Program and one veteran NFL official have been working north this summer to call Canadian Football League games.  This is the fourth year of the NFL-CFL Officiating Exchange Program. The NFL officials calling CFL games this year are: Side judge Keith Washington Rookie Jimmy Russell Rookie Nate Jones Development official LaShell Nelson (pictured above) We do not yet know the CFL officials working preseason camps, scrimmages and games. Those officials will be listed in the 2019 NFL ODP roster, and that roster isn't fully available yet. For the most part, the NFL sends new(er) officials to the

2018 rule changes

NFL adds approved ruling on fumble/safety reviews to casebook for playoffs

The NFL officiating department took the unusual, but not unprecedented, step of adding an approved ruling to the current casebook, effective for the postseason. Small tweaks have been made in the past entering the postseason, which is deemed to be equitable when everyone's record resets to 0-0. Last season, we noted that the replay standards that were heavy-handed in the regular season showed signs of aligning closer to the expected standard in the Wild Card round. This was even more apparent when a catch was upheld in the Super Bowl that might have been incomplete in the regular season. Last season,

Mechanics

Keeping up with the downs: Referee John Parry uses an old-school method for game administration

http://gty.im/1385217 Officials from pee-wee games to the Super Bowl all use a very simple piece of equipment to keep track of the downs. All officials wear an elastic band around their wrist and a loop attached to the band. The officials move the loop over their finger or fingers to show the down (for instance, according to the photo above, it is second down). Before the elastic band, officials tied two rubber bands together and that acted as a down indicator. Officials had to carry a few spares on the field, because the rubber bands would eventually break due to wear and exposure

Officials used to use a gunshot to signal the end to a quarter or half

It seems strange today, but NFL officials used to fire a starter's pistol to end each quarter. It's a mechanic that dated back to the start of pro football up until the NFL discontinued the practice starting in 1994. When the NFL was in its infancy and up through the 1960s, stadium clocks were not the official time and officials kept time on the field. It used to fall to the back judge to keep time. When the NFL expanded to six-man crews in 1965, the line judge took over timing duties. A member of the chain crew would normally carry

Top