News

Big turnover with Big 12 referees

The Big 12 Conference features exciting, up-tempo college football with teams in the national championship hunt almost every season. The conference needs good officials -- especially good referees. Greg Burks, supervisor of officials, had a big challenge this offseason. He had to replace four referees. Cooper Castleberry (19 years), Mike Defee (14 years) and Eddy Shelton (nine years) all retired.  Replacing 42 cumulative years of referee experience is difficult enough, but the Big 12 lost one more referee, but not to retirement. Reggie Smith, a resident of Pennsylvania, left the Big 12 to become a referee in the Big Ten, replacing the retiring Dan

NFL divides up leadership roles in the officiating department

Officiating administration has been undergoing a shift in the offseason, and the NFL announced its changes for management of the officiating department. Former referee Walt Anderson and former assistant coach Perry Fewell were previously announced as senior vice presidents in the officiating channel, but now there is a little more clarity of the leadership structure going forward. Al Riveron, the extant senior vice president of officiating, will no longer be the head of the officiating department, which will now be run as a triumvirate of Riveron, Anderson and Fewell. They are equally placed on the league's organization chart and all three

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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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