Zebras out of uniform

This past weekend, NCAA referee Mike Defee and his crew worked in miserable conditions as The Air Force Academy hosted San Diego State (photo of crew in the downpour). Lightning halted the game for 88-minutes, then resumed with a near empty stadium. Defee's crew started in their regular uniform. But after

NCAA referee with the announcement of the year

Big 10 referee and Officiating Development Program official Don Willard made a mistake Saturday.  He faced the wrong way when announcing a foul. It can happen. It has happened to the best, many times. But, the way he handled himself with a live microphone places him into nomination for referee announcement of

An expert working the finger whistle tonight

Embed from Getty Images     If you get the chance, watch umpire Jeff Rice (number 44) work the Monday Night Football game tonight. Rice uses a finger whistle and he is a maestro using the piece of equipment. Officials working with a finger whistle have to blow their whistle and then signal. Fellow

Golden anniversary of the gold penalty flag

The most controversial piece of cloth in all of sports wasn't always yellow It won't get a cake or open house. It won't get cheered. In fact it's mere presence will illicit foul language and boos. Be that as it may, the gold penalty flag celebrates a big milestone this season.

6 keys for the 2014 season

It is time. Clinic attended, check.  Rules test taken, check. Camps visited, check. Preseason games officiated, check. It is time for the 2014 NFL season.  Just as officials have keys to read on every play, I'm going to be keying in on five things as I zebra-watch from now until

Fun with flags, NFL style

Believe it or not, there is a science to making, throwing penalty flags Last week, back judge Todd Prukop became a mini-celebrity by throwing his penalty flag a whopping 31-yards, impressing announcers and social media all across the country (video).  Besides having a great arm, how can officials make their penalty

7-man officiating crews wired up for 2014

Starting in 2014, all NFL officiating crews will be will be equipped with a microphone and earpiece that will enable them to communicate with each other during the game.  The NFL experimented with this technology in the 2013 preseason, as seen above with referee Ron Winter.   Several international soccer

5 observations from Wild Card weekend

After wild card weekend, it always strikes me -- only seven more meaningful football games this year.  In an attempt not to get too maudlin, here are five things that stuck out to me in regard to the officiating this past Wild Card weekend. Jeff Triplette's crew called an awesome game Triplette,