It's always hard for officials to be away from home on a special holiday. So it was for referee John McDonough and his officiating crew, scheduled to work the Christmas Day divisional playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the visiting Miami Dolphins.
McDonough, who officiated Super Bowl IV, and
It is a simple procedure. The game can’t begin without it. Before any football game starts the referee has to decide who gets the ball first. That question has been decided by the coin toss for the past 100 years. The coin toss determines who gets the first choice of
On Nov. 6, 1989, the Green Bay Packers hosted their hated rival the Chicago Bears. The Bears were having a down season and the Packers showing life for the first time in many years, winning several close, last-minute games and getting the nickname "The Cardiac Pack."
The past five years featured
Usually, a NFL game goes off like a well-oiled machine. The players, coaches, fans, support staff, visual effects, broadcasters and infrastructure all work together to make the game the best show in town.
But, sometimes, things happen: circuits overload, pyrotechnics tip over, fans get too drunk, and tornadoes threaten the stadium.
Today, it is rare to see officials spot the same football for two straight downs. Watch the next game and you'll see the wing officials tossing a new football to the referee or umpire after every play. For a regular game, the NFL prepares 48 game footballs and 6 special
Today, there are clocks all over our TV screens on Sunday. The TV graphics are hard wired into the stadium clock. The stadium clock is the official time. The side judge times the game on a watch, but that time on the watch only serves as a backup in case
When referee Walt Coleman retired in 2018, he ended his career after 30 NFL seasons. He also joined a small list of officials who worked in the NFL for at least 30 years.
It takes a lot of factors to reach the 30-year milestone. An early entry into the league helps
People who saw a NFL game 90-years ago would almost not recognize the game played today. Back in the 1930s, the pro game had some rules that are mind-boggling.
In the early years of the NFL, if a player fell or was knocked down, he could still crawl or get up
It seems strange today, but NFL officials used to fire a starter's pistol to end each quarter. It's a mechanic that was first used in 1924 and lasted until the NFL discontinued the practice starting in 1994.
In the 1920s, procedures were standardized that the referee was the only official that
When the NFL was born, only three officials called the game. Now there are seven --nine if you include the replay official and replay assistant -- with calls to add another pair of eyes at field level.
As a part of the NFL's 100th season, Football Zebras takes a look at