Category Archives: Outside the Stripes

Several NFL officials have ties to the NCAA basketball tournament

At least three have worked the Final Four   Several officials work multiple sports from Pop Warner to the pros.  There is quite a history of NFL officials working major college basketball.  Currently, Gene Steratore (pictured) and Bill Vinovich work major college … Continue reading

Keeping cool when getting an earful

If you can keep your head when all about you  Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you … If—, Rudyard Kipling Kipling was never a professional or amateur football official, but … Continue reading

Former official explains new hires’ orientation

How does the NFL get their new officials up to speed? Larry Upson knows what it is like to be hired into the NFL.  Upson was an NFL official from 1993-98 before moving into the front office to become Mike … Continue reading

Former NFL line judge Phares enjoying ‘normal’ weekends

Ron Phares completes first season of retirement For 43 years Ron Phares chased football players on fields all over the country.  This past season Phares, 69, enjoyed watching football games instead of officiating the contests.  Phares, along with Tom Barnes, … Continue reading

Former NFL official Barnes reflects on his career

Tom Barnes was a NFL line judge for 26 seasons This past fall was the first one in 44 seasons that Tom Barnes wasn’t enforcing football rules.  The 69-year old Barnes (who wore uniform number 55) retired after a 26 … Continue reading

Live blog: Packers at 49ers

NFC Divisional Playoff We will be live blogging the calls and rules interpretations from the Packers-49ers game. (If you see continue reading below, click it to see the entire feed.) If you have any questions or comments, use the comments … Continue reading

Playoff assignments a stressful time

Officials used to worry about job security around playoffs When the regular season is over, the NFL officials wait to see whether they pack their gear away after Week 17 or if they will be awarded a playoff assignment.  The … Continue reading

The final push to the playoffs

What crews look good to extend their season? The last quarter of the NFL regular season has started (didn’t training camps open two weeks ago?).  As teams make a final push to secure a coveted post season berth the officials … Continue reading

Whistle while you work, NFL referee style

This season has seen three inadvertent whistles (IW) being blown by the officials, with the latest being this past week in the game between the Raiders and Bengals. NFL officials, and officials at all levels, have various tricks of the … Continue reading

HL, chain gang use special equipment to keep chains accurate on the field

You’ve seen it before; a sweep comes to the sideline and the ball carrier and several other players go crashing out of bounds while the chain gang drops their equipment and runs for their lives.  With the advent of instant … Continue reading