Back judge Steve Freeman leaves Week 3 game in Atlanta

Back judge Steve Freeman was hurt in Week 3 during the Saints-Falcons game in Atlanta. Freeman is normally on Alex Kemp's crew, but for this week he worked with Walt Anderson's crew in Atlanta and Anderson's normal back judge, Lee Dyer, worked on Kemp's crew. Freeman was hurt on a deep pass play down the middle, one of the hardest plays for a back judge. He back pedaled and then pivoted to run forward. During his pivot he fell down, untouched. He then scrambled to his feet to continue officiating the play just before he went out of the frame (video). Initially,

Browns sideline radio reporter Nathan Zegura removed from broadcasts for arguing with official

The Cleveland Browns sideline reporter Nathan Zegura has been removed from Browns radio broadcasts for eight games for yelling at game officials during the Browns Week 2 loss to the Saints, as reported by Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. Zegura will begin serving his penalty starting this Thursday night. The ESPN 850 talk show host is also suspended from the Cleveland Browns Daily radio program for two weeks. Cabot's report says the Browns reprimanded Zegura in the past for his conduct with the officials, hence the result. Ron Torbert's crew handled the Saints-Browns game. We don't know who Zegura yelled

2018 rule changes

The replay timing rule change that’s not in the rulebook

In the process of updating the rulebook, there are the major rule changes approved by the owners and additional language updates to other parts of the rules related to those changes. Occasionally, there are other wording changes that clear up an ambiguity or use different language that better describes the current enforcement of the rule. Very infrequently, there will be other changes in the rules that are minor, but still substantive, without owner approval. This rule change, however, is in a category never seen before. It is a rule change that doesn't even appear in the rulebook, and it could affect


Look for quicker whistles this season

In trying to keep ball carriers from being blown up this year, the NFL has directed officials to blow an early whistle to help prevent injuries. The NFL wants officials to sound the whistle and shut down a play when the runner or quarterback is wrapped up. Usually the officials wait until forward progress is clearly stopped before blowing the play dead. This year, the point of emphasis for the officials blow the whistle early. Many times when the defense wraps up a ball carrier, they will try to blow up the runner if the play is still alive. The defense wants

NFL trying out two new kicking game mechanics this preseason

The NFL is using two new kicking mechanics this season on field goal and extra point attempts and on free kicks (kickoffs).  Football Zebras contacted the NFL officiating office to see if these changes are a preseason experiment or will be permanent; however the NFL did not respond to our request at publishing time. Umpire in backfield on scoring kicks The NFL is placing the umpire in the backfield on field goal and extra point attempts. Previously the umpire and side judge both lined up in the defensive backfield. Now it looks like this: I am quite intrigued with this positioning. There are several restrictions