News

Officiating crews for the 2021 season

Embed from Getty Images Football Zebras has obtained the officiating crew rosters for the 2021 NFL season. This season, there is one new official to replace 6 that retired; those hired in the second wave of hires during the 2020 offseason are being retained as permanent officials. There are also 2 veterans designated as swing officials, who will move between crews through the season. Both of the swing officials are deep wings. There are no new referees this season, breaking a string of at least one referee promotion in each of the previous 3 seasons, with 7 promotions in total. The hiring

3 more officials retire, now totaling 6 this offseason

Three more NFL officials have retired from the field, making a total of six officials that have retired in the 2021 off-season. Previously, Bart Longson, Tom Symonette and Ruben Fowler retired. After this weekend's mini-clinic comes news that back judge Steve Freeman, back judge Tony Steratore, and line judge Gary Arthur have retired. Those three retirements represent 63 years of combined officiating experience. Typically, the NFL does not announce why an official leaves the league, although it is most often characterized as a retirement, even if involuntary. None of these three officials worked on the field in 2020. Freeman and Steratore voluntarily opted

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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

Alternate officials will keep their eye out for simulated substitutions, after the Packers attempted it twice

Embed from Getty Images Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers loves to move his offense to the line of scrimmage quickly and snap the ball in an attempt to catch the defense off-guard, and perhaps with too many men on the field. Even the late great Alex Trebek knew this. However, in last weekend's Divisional Playoff between Rodgers' Packers and the Los Angeles Rams, the crew was able to stop the tactic by holding up play to allow for equal substitution. Early in the first quarter of the game, the Rams were penalized for too many men on the field, as their

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

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