Embed from Getty Images In a recent scheduling change, Clete Blakeman and his crew will be off this week, when the crew was originally scheduled to officiate the game between the Colts and Bears on Sunday. This crew officiated last Sunday's game between the Titans and Vikings, where subsequently, 3 players and 5 staff members from Tennessee tested positive for covid-19. Per ESPN's Kevin Seifert, each member of the crew will be tested for covid-19 daily this week, and the crew will remain off this week as a precautionary measure. Craig Wrolstad will be the new referee for the Colts-Bears game this
Al Riveron, senior vice president, in charge of centralized replay on game day, missed Week 1 due to covid-19. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Riveron is back in the Art McNally Game Day Center for today's games. Russell Yurk, vice president of replay, and three assistants were handling replay challenges in Week 1. We are glad that Riveron has recovered from covid-19 and wish him well as he handles replay challenges today.
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
In order to prevent the spread of covid-19 through the air, the NFL and the NCAA wants its officials to wear a mask as much as possible. This means the officials have to modify their whistle technique. So, this year many officials are using electronic whistles (you can see the whistle tied to umpire Ramon George's belt in the photo above). These whistles allow the official to stay masked and not eject their breath from the traditional whistle. In short, the electronic whistle is too quiet. The whistle either lets out a warbling tone or an electronic screech. From what I've noticed
Embed from Getty Images In two different games from the Week 2 slate of NFL games, the challenge flag became a point of conversation. In the Sunday night game in Seattle, the crew failed to notice a challenge flag thrown by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick before the start of the next play, and in the afternoon thriller in Dallas, a sideline communicator took the field to stop the game and inform the crew about a thrown challenge flag. Just prior to the two-minute warning in the Falcons-Cowboys game, a deep pass that was caught at the sideline was challenged by