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Riveron promoted to senior director of officiating



The first hire under the leadership of the new vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, has brought Alberto Riveron into the league office as senior director of officiating. Adam Schefter reported the hire Tuesday morning.

Alberto Riveron will become the NFL’s Senior Director of Officiating.

Riveron was in New York City in January to, presumably, interview for the vice-president position, when Carl Johnson announced that he was stepping down after the Super Bowl. The job eventually went to Blandino, who previously served as one of the directors of officiating and served as the head of replay operations.

Riveron’s last game was the wild card playoff between the Bengals and the Texans at the end of his ninth NFL season and fifth at the referee position. Riveron, born in Havana, Cuba, became the first Hispanic referee in the league when he was promoted from side judge by then-vice president Mike Pereira in 2008. Before the NFL, Riveron officiated in Conference USA and the Big East.

It is most likely that Bill Vinovich will be assigned to his own crew for the 2013 season. Vinovich returned to the NFL this past season after missing five years due to health problems. He was a “swing” official this past year, meaning he worked as a referee on different crews each week. Carl Johnson will return to the field as the NFL’s first full-time official; Johnson was previously a line judge, but no decision on Johnson’s field position has been announced.  (Update: Blandino confirmed Johnson will be a line judge for 2013.)

The senior director of officiating is not a position that existed before, according to the NFL Record and Fact Book. This might be due to the union’s insistence that officials are only graded by people who have on-field NFL experience. Because Blandino has only worked in the replay operation, and has never officiated on the field, he could not make decisions on grading without a change to common practices. With this promotion, the league could place Riveron in charge of grading — a process which came under scrutiny this season.

Riveron will report to Blandino who reports to the executive vice president of football operations, Ray Anderson.

Mark Schultz contributed to this report.

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)