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Alliance of American Football2019 AAF SeasonOfficiating crews for the 2019 AAF season

Officiating crews for the 2019 AAF season

Professional football continues for under the banner of the Alliance of American Football, which begins its inaugural season Feb. 9, just six days after Super Bowl LIII.

The Alliance uses the 8-person mechanics of the NCAA and has 48 officials from Football Bowl Subdivision conferences on six crews. This differs from the NFL in that the umpire is lined up behind the linebackers and an eighth official, the center judge, is used. (Also the position of down judge has its legacy “H” designation, but it is now the “head line judge,” consistent with the NCAA.) Each crew also has a replay official, most of whom have NFL replay experience. A tenth official, known as the “sky judge,” is allowed to intervene in cases where there are missed fouls or flags that should be picked up. The sky judge has been described to Football Zebras as being the game supervisor assigned to the game. There are 4 sky judges and are not attached to the crew. The sky judge can exercise this intervention if their call comes before the next snap, but cannot otherwise stop the game to conduct a review.

Pac-12 referee Steve Strimling is the Alliance coordinator of officials. Former NFL vice presidents of officiating Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino are consultants.

Several of the officials have been scouted by the NFL under its Officiating Development Program. The AAF gives them critical grass time in a professional rule set which has been lacking since NFL Europe folded in 2007. No doubt the NFL is closely monitoring these games, but the league had no formal role in the staffing process. Three women, all of whom have been in the ODP program, are on the field for the Alliance, joining replay official Terri Valenti, who also an NFL replay official.

One official formerly worked in the NFL, and left abruptly in 2015 for an undisclosed reason which was characterized only as not due to officiating performance. Another official worked for 2 seasons in the defunct United Football League.

Officials are listed by their position and uniform number, their current college conference, and seasons worked in an NFL development program. Former NFL players are indicated with their playing experience. Assignments for last season’s major bowl games or conference championships are listed. The ODP seasons are listed (or the “Advanced Development Program” from 2013-14), except where noted: *assigned to a college invitational exhibition game only, development program for former players.

(Crews are subject to change, especially when there are scheduling obligations to their college conferences.)

      Conference ODP experience  
R 9 Tra Blake ACC    
C 50 Francisco Villar Pac-12    
U 35 Terry Killens American Athletic 2013-15, 2016-18, 2019* NFL LB 1996-2002 (HOUo, TEN, SF, SEA)
H 47 Rod Amarri Pac-12    
L 54 Quentin Givens Big 12 2015-17  
F 67 Max Causey Conference USA 2018, 2019*  
S 76 Eric Hartman American Athletic    
B 25 Grantis Bell SEC 2017*, 2018, 2019*  

      Conference ODP experience  
R 19 James Carter SEC 2017-18, 2019*  
C 31 Amanda Sauer Mid American 2017  
U 49 Scott Campbell Big 12 2019*  
H 42 Patrick Holt Big Ten 2018, 2019*  
L 58 Andy Warner Big 12    
F 62 Tony Meyer Conference USA    
S 72 Justin Larrew Conference USA 2016-17, 2018* 2018 conference championship game
B 26 Justin Nelson Pac-12 2016-2018, 2019* 2018 conference championship game

      Conference ODP experience  
R 81 Brandon Cruse Big 12 2018, 2019*  
C 22 Larry Smith Big Ten 2016  
U 88 Mike Morton ACC 2014, 2015-17, 2018* NFL LB 1995-2001 (OAK, STLr, GB, IND)
H 44 Tripp Sutter Big Ten 2018 2018 National Championship game
L 59 Brett Bergman Big Ten    
F 3 Anthony Flemming Big 12 2017*, 2018  
S 79 Nate Jones Pac-12 2013-15, 2016-18, 2019* NFL CB 2004-11 (DAL, MIA, DEN, NE).
B 23 David Ross Pac-12    

      Conference ODP experience  
R 84 Jeff Heaser ACC 2018, 2019* 2018 conference championship game
C 33 Chris Snead SEC 2014-15, 2016*, 2017, 2018* United Football League referee 2010-11
U 38 Mike Moten SEC 2015  
H 17 Cravonne Barrett Pac-12 2018  
L 55 Robin DeLorenzo Mid American 2017-18  
F 5 Glen Fucik SEC 2018, 2019* 2018 conference championship game
S 91 Frank Steratore Big Ten 2016-18 2018 National Championship game
B 96 Jimmy Russell SEC 2017-18 2018 Rose Bowl

      Conference ODP experience  
R 14 John O’Neill Big Ten    
C 82 Ron Turner Sun Belt    
U 51 Tab Slaughter Big 12 2016-18 2018 conference championship game
H 8 James Wharrie Pac-12    
L 28 Tom Eaton Conference USA 2017-18, 2019*  
F 6 Lo Van Pham Big 12 2018, 2019* 2018 Peach Bowl
S 94 Maurice Pierre Conference USA 2018, 2019*  
B 90 Tyree Walton Mountain West    

      Conference ODP experience  
R 2 Reggie Smith Big 12 2016, 2017* 2018 conference championship game
C 27 Adam Savoie American Athletic 2017-18, 2019*  
U 86 Ed Feaster Big Ten 2017-18 2018 National Championship game
H 11 Dale Keller Pac-12    
L 21 Maia Chaka Conference USA 2014-17  
F 63 Daniel Gautreaux Conference USA 2016  
S 99 Clay Reynard Pac-12 2013-14, 2018, 2019* 2018 Sugar Bowl
B 29 Jimmy DeBell Conference USA 2007 (NFL Europe) NFL official 2009-14

Swing replay official: Brian Lopinto

Ben Austro
Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

4 thoughts on “Officiating crews for the 2019 AAF season

  1. The AAF zebra uniforms are the worst design possible. The shoulder stars are no big deal … but the black “vest-like” middle piece only highlights the stomach. Makes the refs look paunchy, even if they aren’t. Sports fashion fail much?

  2. The uniform design makes them look like cops with body armor. I know they’re trying to go for a more modern look instead of the same old zebra stripes, but I don’t think it worked.

  3. LOL! Comments are so funny that I also would like to add a few words!
    But I want to thank you for the article and schedule of the games!

  4. I have a question Ben. Is there any talk about using this like they used to NFL Europe for prospective referees. I know they would have to change the bargaining agreement but is there any talk about having say prospective NFL referees come to this league and take the white hat for the season?

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