The NFL is now accepting applicants for a new position to lead training and development initiatives for its current officials.
The position was created as a result of a provision in the collective bargaining agreement signed last month with the officiating union, which reportedly was to be a vice-president level position. The job listing, obtained by Football Zebras, is for a “head of officiating training and development,” so the actual position level apparently has not been set. One of the prerequisites is that the candidate must have been an NFL official for at least 5 seasons.
The general rule-of-thumb is that an official hits his or her stride in the pro game in the fifth season. That is an incredible, but largely unchangeable, fact about the complexity of NFL officiating. Without NFL Europe and after the demise of the Alliance of American Football, there are currently no development league opportunities for officials, pending the kickoff of the XFL in 2020. On the roster, there are 33 officials that are in their fifth season or less, which is more than a quarter of the staff.
The new position will serve the entire staff, but will also have a targeted emphasis on officials in their first three seasons.
Currently, the league circulates six well-accomplished former officials to various games through the season: referee Jerry Markbreit, umpire Ron Botchan, head linesman Tom Stabile, line judge Ben Montgomery, field judge Bob McGrath, and side judge Tom Fincken. In recent years, the league has curtailed the amount of involvement of these veteran trainers. The new officiating development czar would be responsible for hiring a training staff, or “position coaches.”
Vice president of officiating evaluation and development Wayne Mackie will apparently continue in his scope as it pertains to potential NFL recruits, although the new listing states the candidate will have “responsibility for recruiting and pipeline development.”
One additional job responsibility addresses an issue that has risen to the surface in recent years. Rule changes and points of emphasis have had rough adjustment periods lately, and the new development head will “assist in translating the Competition Committee’s identified points of emphasis into on-field officiating practices.” This is further reinforced by tasking this new position to “ensure buy-in around the points of emphasis for the upcoming season, and ensure readiness of the officials to conduct games with consistent levels of excellence.”
The position as it is outlined does check off a lot of boxes of officiating concerns extending to players, coaches, ownership, and fans. The job description is listed below, and the new hire will report to senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron.
Head of Officiating Training and Development
The Head of Officiating Training and Development is responsible for the training and development of all game officials, including the hiring and management of Officiating Position Coaches to serve as trainers; the development and implementation of specific training and development elements for less experienced officials to transition into the league; and responsibility for recruiting and pipeline development.
Roles & Responsibilities
- Develop and implement training and development program for all game officials.
- Oversee hiring and management of Officiating Position Coaches (trainers).
- Develop and implement specific training program for game officials with three or less years of experience to ensure successful transition into the League.
- Develop and implement officiating recruiting program to identify best candidates for on-field positions.
- Develop materials for and conduct officiating clinics to teach/train, ensure buy-in around the points of emphasis for the upcoming season, and ensure readiness of the officials to conduct games with consistent levels of excellence.
- Develop mechanics protocols for all positions and ensure proper mechanics are followed on a consistent basis.
- Develop and distribute training videos and materials to reinforce consistent mechanics and foul recognition among officiating crews.
- In conjunction with the Technology Committee, develop innovative and enhanced online training tools.
- Attend NFL games to interact with officiating crews and foster positive communication between League office and on-field staff.
- Monitor NFL games in [Art McNally Game Day Central] to identify opportunities for teaching and training. Create library of play situations highlighting correct and incorrect mechanics for use with game officials.
- Attend Competition Committee meetings and owners’ meetings, participating in the discussion as appropriate. In addition, assist in translating the Competition Committee’s identified points of emphasis into on-field officiating practices.
- This individual will have superior management skills, a strong executive presence, and exceptional communication skills.
- This individual will have a solid understanding of NFL officiating rules and game day football operations.
- Individual must be willing to travel about 60% of the time
- Minimum 5 years of NFL officiating experience
- Have consistently met on-field performance standards
- Demonstrated proficiency in teaching, training and/or development
Work Locations: NY New York – NFL Office, 345 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10154
Assignment Category: Full-Time Regular
Education Level: Bachelor’s Degree
Application Deadline: Oct 30, 2019, 3:59:00 AM