Football Zebras exclusive
The NFL has promoted veteran line judge John Hussey (number 35) to be a referee beginning in the 2015 season. He joined the NFL in 2002 and has been a line judge his entire NFL career, most recently on Ed Hochuli’s crew. Hussey was assigned to the Pro Bowl this past season, and in the last five seasons, he worked two conference championships and Super Bowl XLV.
Before being hired by the NFL, Hussey worked collegiate games in the Pacific-10 Conference and in NFL Europe. Hussey was a cornerback at Idaho State, and was a teammate of future Steelers running back and longtime ESPN analyst Merril Hoge.
The NFL has evaluated Hussey to be a future referee for several seasons. He worked as a white hat while in NFL Europe in 2007, and Hussey has auditioned to be a referee for several preseason games over the years, most recently last summer. While I have been high on Hussey’s skills at line judge and as a prospective referee, I thought his window of opportunity to be a white hat had closed, especially after Brad Allen was hired straight into the NFL as a referee; however the NFL gave the veteran the nod after Bill Leavy left the field to become an officiating supervisor.
Off the field, the California resident is a director of national sales for a retail and supply chain. We will learn Hussey’s crew at a later date, but if tradition dictates, expect a veteran umpire to partner with him in his rookie season as a white hat.
Ben Austro contributed to this report.
LJ John Hussey breaking up a fight during a 2014 game between the Bills and Vikings [Craig Melvin/Buffalo Bills]