The NFL has two more on-field officials to replace. Football Zebras can confirm the senior vice president of officiating, Al Riveron, hired side judge Rob Vernatchi Â and field judge Doug Rosenbaum asÂ regional supervisors. Vernatchi and Rosenbaum join Bill Leavy, Garth DeFeliceÂ and Gary Slaughter as supervisors. In this busy offseason, regional supervisor Neely Dunn retired and Riveron expanded the supervisor staff by one.
Regional supervisors grade game tapes and go to games to evaluate crews and individual officials. The supervisors were based in New York; now, they telecommute and travel to the Park Avenue office occasionally.
Experience leaves the field
Rob Vernatchi joined the NFL in 2004. He worked the field judge, back judge and side judge positions. VernatchiÂ workedÂ several playoff games at all positions, including field judge for Super Bowl XLIV. Vernatchi was the covering official for the surprise onside kick to start the second half. He fearlessly dove into the pile to rule on possession (video).
RosenbaumÂ joined the NFL in 2001 and worked the side judge and field judge positions. Like Vernatchi, he worked several playoff games, including Super Bowl XLVÂ and Super Bowl LIÂ — his last assignment. He made several tough calls in last year’s classic.
As with all officials, both endured controversies. In 2015, an error by the clock operator caused 18 seconds to run off the clock, and Vernatchi failed to spot the error. The subsequent play selection actually netted the same amount of time being run, as it was just before the two-minute warning. Nevertheless, the NFL suspended him one game with pay.
Rosenbaum was the side judge for the memorable 2002 Wild Card Playoff between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants (video). As side judge, Rosenbaum was lined up as a second umpire. During the Giants’ busted field goal play, Rosenbaum drifted downfield trying to assist with the pass play while at the same time trying to stay out of the way. An uncalled pass interference foul on the 49ers would have offset the Giants foul, and extending the game by an untimed down; the league deemed this a crew error.
More roster openings
This late news opens up two more roster spots. Right after the season the NFL announced that Bob Waggoner, Tony Veteri and John McGrath retired. Then last week, we were able to confirmÂ that Butch Hannah retired. The officials union announced four new officials were hired, but there are at least three additional unnamed officials hired in the past month.
There has been a great deal of moving all around, but now that the officials are engaged for the 2017 season, that will settle down and the focus will be on football.
(Click the images to navigate through the photo galleries. Vernatchi is pictured above, Rosenbaum below.)