News

Earnie Frantz is the recipient of the 2020 Art McNally Award

Earnie Frantz, former NFL head linesman (now down judge) and replay official, has been awarded the 2020 Art McNally Award, Football Zebras has confirmed through multiple sources. The Art McNally Award is named after the former head of officiating from 1968 to 1990, and recognizes an official for “exemplary professionalism, leadership and commitment to sportsmanship on and off the field.”  The NFL began this award in 2002. The award was presented at this year's virtual officiating clinic; in previous seasons the award was handed out at the Pro Bowl. Frantz, an official in the NFL from 1981 to 2001, wore number

More details on NFL contingency for 5-official crews emphasize passing game over line play

The NFL's coronavirus contingency plan of reducing officiating crews from 7 to 5 officials is taking shape, and it is apparent that the pro version of these plans will divert attention away from the interior linemen and focus more on the defensive secondary. The crew assignments posted here in June, and confirmed by the NFL this weekend, are currently for crews of 7. Details are now emerging from our sources on how the 5-official crew would work in the NFL, which were presented to the officials at their annual July clinic, a remote gathering this year. Unburdened from extensive rules changes,

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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

No eighth official in 2020

According to a report from John Kryk in The Telegram, the NFL will not add an eighth official for the 2020 season. The proposal is for the eighth official to be the sky judge (the position name bandied about at the moment). The idea is for the sky judge to intervene and correct "egregious" judgement errors or rule misapplications. It is unknown if the sky judge would be an official that retired from the field, someone with officiating experience at the college level, or someone that comes up through the replay official pipeline. But, the NFL won't consider the sky judge position this

Working the official? Putting a bug in their ear? What exactly was Kyle Shanahan doing?

In this week's Inside the NFL on Showtime, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan can be seen and heard doing what's known as "working the official," that is, alerting the official to potential things an opposing team is doing or might do that is a violation of the rules. This can lead many fans and players alike to proclaim that a given official is in the tank for a given team or coach. That is not the case. Before each game at all levels, the officials will meet with the coaches of both teams. The purpose is to: Make sure all players are

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