Kickoff 2013: The officials by the numbers

Click the image to enlarge. It is time to kick off the new football season! Here are some numbers for all of the zebra watchers out there. Enjoy! Designed and researched by Ben Austro. Sources: NFL Record and Fact Book (2013, 2008, 2000); Pro-Football-Reference.com (Coleman, Freeman, McKinnely); Football Zebras, "Officiating crews for the

H-backs, tight ends expand their numbers

2013 rule changes  It's not a controversial rule change, and we are almost certain that former Raiders tight end Todd Christensen approves. Tight ends have been restricted to uniform numbers in the 80s, which they also had to share with the receiving corps. Because teams were retiring their star receivers' numbers, the

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

Microphone is ref’s friend for no-sense rules

It elicits snickers from football fans when it happens, and it sometimes trends on Twitter. Referee Ed Hochuli turns on his microphone to explain a ruling, and some fans joke that it is NFL open mic night. An example from 2009: We reviewed whether the ball was fumbled down near the