6 NFL officiating things to watch for in 2013

Commentary by Mark Schultz Here are the things I am pondering as I "zebra watch" this year. 1.  Will some high-profile officials make a playoff comeback?  Gene Steratore, Ed Hochuli, John Parry, Tom Stabile,  John McGrath, Rob Vernatchi, and Walt Anderson missed out on an on-field playoff assignment in 2012.  Will they

Referee assignments, preseason week 4

Updated: August 29, 2013 at 11:43 pm EDT Carl Cheffers will toss the coin for one of  the last preseason games this year in Seattle. All games in this final preseason week are played on Thursday, and no games are national network games, except for two local simulcasts on the NFL Network.

NFL winds down advanced training program as college season opens

As Labor Day weekend approaches, the developmental officials that comprised the NFL's "taxi squad" are headed back to their college conferences for the start of the college football season. It is officially known as the advanced training program, the NFL initiative that brought 21 officials from the major college conferences to

Referee assignments, preseason week 3

  Pete Morelli, shown here in last year's playoffs, will have the duties on the ESPN game Thursday night. Unfortunately, our ability to report the officiating assignments has run up against a buzzsaw. Despite a redundant system of sources, Football Zebras has only been able to confirm a small number of assignments

NFL officials experiment with wireless in-game communication

You may have noticed some officials wearing rock-star like microphones and ear pieces during some preseason games.  The NFL has confirmed that it is having its officials experiment with wireless official-to-official communication gear during selected games this August.  Vice president of football communications, Michael Signora, says, "We have consistently used

Sarah Thomas 2014 debut all but assured

The NFL is piloting an advanced training program to give college officials an apprenticeship with NFL crews this season. There are supposedly 21 recruits, which the NFL declined to disclose names to us, but one name has been made known. Sarah Thomas is one of the recruits and is on a

Father-son team cover deep in preseason

Back judge Steve Freeman got a rare opportunity on Friday night, and even though it was a meaningless, forgettable preseason game, it is likely an experience he will remember as a highlight of his career. Freeman's son Brad, a field judge in the Southeastern Conference, has been actively scouted by the

New white hats looking to earn an ‘R’

NFL trying out potential replacements for retiring head referees The NFL is preparing for the inevitable retirement of officiating crew chiefs by conducting trial runs for some promotions in the second preseason weekend. An officiating source said that at least one head referee will retire at the end of the season.

Offenses subject to ‘reasonable time’ rule

The conspiracy machine got some gas in preseason with the suggestion that officials are given the authority to limit offensive schemes through controlling the pace of the game. In a Wall Street Journal article, a connection was drawn between a new point of emphasis and the offense employed by incoming