News

NFL replay VP takes administrative leave in awkward officiating transition

The offseason turmoil in the replay area of the officiating department continues, as vice president of replay Russell Yurk has formally taken an elective administrative leave. Yurk has been away from replay during the preseason, and apparently was reassigned "within the officiating group." It follows last month's announcement that Al Riveron retired from senior vice president of officiating (with sole focus on the replay area) just hours before the first preseason game. Seven officiating sources have told Football Zebras that Yurk has declined to be vaccinated for covid-19, with one source characterizing the fact as "widely known among the officiating staff."

The NFL’s 3 changes under the hood of replay that could have mixed results

There are several changes in the replay area which are going to have a profound impact on the 2021 season. Most notably, as previously reported, the replay leadership has been completely changed. Al Riveron retired as senior vice president of officiating, and Russell Yurk has been removed from replay duties despite having the title vice president of replay. A league source stated that Yurk was reassigned to other duties "in the officiating group," but the source was not able to elaborate. Riveron and Yurk, for better or for worse, were the two representatives that handled all replay decisions since the league

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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

For NFL officials, thankfully it is not 2020 anymore

When I wrote a recap of the 2020 season, I closed my column by saying "may we never again have another like it." This season, covid-19 is still with us, but for the officials, it will not be a repeat of 2020. Vaccines The NFL reported that 99% of its employees have been vaccinated. Getting the vaccine is a condition of employment. Hopefully, this vaccine will help prevent officials from getting sick, and we won't see a repeat of the frantic Week 17 massive substitutions from last year. More crowded sideline During a game, media members, photographers, cheerleaders, support staff and other sideline guests, have

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

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