Fred Swearingen, referee for the Immaculate Reception, passes away

Frederick Swearingen 1921-2016 Former NFL referee and field judge Fred Swearingen, who presided over the Immaculate Reception, passed away Dec. 16, 2016, at the age of 95. Swearingen was a NFL field judge (now back judge) and referee from 1960 until 1980. A native of Ohio, Swearingen served in the Navy during

50 Super Bowl calls, Part 4: XX to XI

The Football Zebras staff -- with the assistance of our affiliated forum, Behind the Football Stripes -- has examined the Super Bowls of years past for the work of the officials who, in a given year, achieve the honor of the best of the best. While every team competes for

50 Super Bowl calls, Part 1: L to XLI

The Football Zebras staff -- with the assistance of our affiliated forum, Behind the Football Stripes -- has examined the Super Bowls of years past for the work of the officials who, in a given year, attain the honor of the best of the best. While every team competes for

Week 1 Officiating Video: Pop-up, timeout, ball down

Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, began the season today by explaining calls in Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season in the weekly video for the media (download). Some highlights included:In overtime in St. Louis, the officials, according to Blandino, correctly ruled that there was a valid

The anatomy of an overturned call

View image | gettyimages.com There is a well-defined process to overturning a call This past weekend, the Lions-Cowboys playoff game was marked by the crew picking up a pass interference flag against the Lions, setting off a huge uproar.  Football officials have a set protocol that occurs before changing a call. How do

Flopping for flag can flip flag in face of flopper

If you are a fan of basketball, you are well aware of flopping -- the art of exaggerating contact to try to draw a foul on your opponent.  Well, the art of flopping is also alive and well in the NFL, fans just haven't heard a referee call it such.

Week 8 officiating video: crackback blocks, official timeouts

#457964914 / gettyimages.com NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino today released the Week 8 media video. Topics this week included interception/touchback rules, crackback blocks, and timing rules (video download). Low blocks and crackback blocks were a topic of discussion during the Cardinals-Eagles game. The rule is that any player that is