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Carl Johnson to step down as VP of referees



The brief tenure of Carl Johnson as vice-president of officiating will end after this year’s Super Bowl.

The NFL is reporting that Johnson is returning to the field as a full-time official, the first one in league history. The NFL and the referees union agreed in the most recent collective bargaining agreements to allow the NFL to hire a pool of officials that would be league employees year round. Currently, all officials have an outside job or are retired from another line of work.

Johnson now has the opportunity to cast the die for the full-time officiating positions the NFL will fill. Preliminary plans are to have one full-time official working on the field for each of the seven crew positions.

“I’m very excited about this new challenge and returning to the field,” Johnson said in a statement released by the league.  “On a personal note, I am very much looking forward to rejoining my wife and son in Louisiana.  That is home for me, and having a chance to be based there and to continue my work in an exciting new role is a great opportunity.”

Johnson moved to the league office in 2010 after Mike Pereira left the position of vice-president of officiating. Under Pereira’s term the position was originally designated as director of officiating. Pereira now works as a rules analyst for Fox Sports. Johnson, a resident of Thibodaux, La., was a sales manager before being promoted to his executive position at the NFL. He worked as a line judge for nine seasons in the league, and officiated in Super Bowl XLII between the Giants and Patriots.

Aside from two officials hired in 2011 and two who retired at the beginning of this season, Johnson has not had to preside over many personnel moves during his tenure.

No word from the league at this point on the search for Johnson’s successor.

Image: NFL handout photo

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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