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News

Rescheduling decisions call into question competitive inequities

The NFL on Wednesday announced that it would be postponing tomorrow’s Ravens at Steelers game until Sunday due to the Ravens sending at least 10 players to the Covid-19 injured reserve list this week after positive tests started filtering through to the media on Monday morning. NBC will carry the game at 1:15 p.m. Eastern on Sunday afternoon. This has raised questions of fairness due to the NFL deciding not cancel the Thursday night game earlier this month between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers. In that game, the 49ers were down several starters due one player, receiver Kendrick

NBC garbles Carl Cheffers penalty announcements to prevent profanity from airing

The NFL is doing its best to play a full season during the covid-19 pandemic. One of the ways the league can get games in is to play in near-empty stadiums. While it is a surreal sight, it also presents challenges for TV sound technicians. In 2020, when referees open their mics to make a penalty or replay announcement, the stadium is so quiet that the microphone picks up banter from the players that doesn't pass television network standards. For years, NFL officials have worked hard to keep salty language from getting on the air, but it is usually officials censoring themselves. https://www.footballzebras.com/2012/11/an-open-referee-microphone-is-an-ever-present-danger/ But with

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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

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Mechanics

Players now helping officials during hurry-up offense

The final, thrilling, frantic seconds of a football game is always stressful. For the officials, the pressure builds. One of their prime responsibilities is to get the ball ready for play and not cause an unfair delay to the offense. Over the years, the officials have developed ball relays down to a science, including during a two minute drill. http://www.footballzebras.com/2019/10/nfl100-officials-used-to-use-only-one-ball-for-a-game/ When there mere seconds left in a half, officials have to quickly spot the ball. Officials don't toss the ball back in to the referee or umpire, because players are running around and the toss could hit them and wobble away. Or, the

Electronic whistles too quiet for stand-alone option

In order to prevent the spread of covid-19 through the air, the NFL and the NCAA wants its officials to wear a mask as much as possible. This means the officials have to modify their whistle technique. So, this year many officials are using electronic whistles (you can see the whistle tied to umpire Ramon George's belt in the photo above). These whistles allow the official to stay masked and not eject their breath from the traditional whistle. In short, the electronic whistle is too quiet. The whistle either lets out a warbling tone or an electronic screech. From what I've noticed

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