News

3 officials making a conference championship debut; another continues a long streak

Three officials are making their conference championship debuts this weekend. And, another official continues a long playoff streak. First conference championship assignments Three officials are making their conference championship debuts - Jimmy Buchanan, Ramon George (pictured above) and Barry Anderson. Anderson has worked 10 playoff games, including Super Bowl LIV last year. But, he's never worked a conference championship until this year. He's worked as a field judge, side judge and umpire. Ramon George is an up and coming umpire. This is his third on field playoff assignment. Jimmy Buchanan officiates his fourth playoff game this weekend. Previously he worked three wild card games. He

More first-time officials in the playoffs this weekend

Last week, 10 officials officiated their first-ever playoff game. Senior vice president of officiating training and development, Walt Anderson, has assigned three more officials to their first career playoff game and one referee is calling his first playoff game as a white hat. Also, two officials are making a return to the playoffs after an absence. The first-timers are: Field judge Ryan Dickson, number 25 (third year eligible, alternate last year -- pictured above) Umpire Terry Killens, number 77 (first year eligible, former NFL player) Down judge Tripp Sutter, number 37 (first year eligible) Also, referee Clay Martin makes his playoff debut as a white hat weeks

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NFL100: When John McDonough called The Longest Game on Christmas Day

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 was a AFL and NFL referee from 1960 to 1973, lead a veteran crew that included umpire Frank Sinkovitz, head linesman Leo Miles, line judge Bill Swanson, field judge Bob Baur and back judge Adrian Burk.  The NFL had never scheduled a postseason game on Christmas. A few years before the

Mechanics

The NFL umpire is more stationary this season

This year, Walt Anderson, senior vice president of officiating training and development, trained the officials to get in position and be stationary at the apex of a play. The philosophy is that a stationary official's eyes will be still and he'll be able to zero in and focus on the play. Over the years, the umpire has been one of the most fleet of foot officials. He had to put on his dancing shoes when lined up in the defensive backfield. When the NFL moved the umpire into the offensive backfield, he did much more running in order to chase the

With a thin bench, the NFL hopes to have full crews for the final weeks of the season

NFL teams have no more bye weeks for the rest of the 2020 season. That means only one crew will be on a bye week in Week 17 (16 games, 17 crews). With covid-19 a constant threat, the NFL has to be crossing its fingers that full crews of seven will be able to take the field. Virus forces late changes in the summer When it became clear that covid-19 would still be with us this fall, the NFL gave its officials the chance to opt out of the season with a guarantee that their job was safe for 2021. Five on-field officials and

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