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Ray Anderson leaving NFL at end of season



NFL executive oversaw officiating department during tenure

Ray Anderson, NFL executive vice president of football operations, will leave his position at the end of the 2013 season to “pursue other opportunities” according to a statement from the National Football League.  


Ray Anderson, NFL executive vice president of football operations, will leave his post at the end of the 2013 season [NFL photo].

In the statement, commissioner Roger Goodell said of Anderson, “Ray’s wide-ranging experience in football has played an important role in our football operations.  Ray has been a strong contributor, always focusing on our key priorities. His engaging personality helped smooth the edges of many a difficult issue. We appreciate Ray’s contributions and know he will be successful in his next venture.”

“I have been involved in many different aspects of the NFL — as an agent, club executive, and league executive,” Anderson said in the NFL news release.  “I have always enjoyed new challenges and the time is right for me to evolve into the next phase of my career. I appreciate the opportunity Commissioner Goodell gave me and the support I have enjoyed from a great staff.”

Anderson joined the NFL in 2006 shortly after Goodell became the commissioner and he was assigned to oversee the officiating department. Anderson helped represent the NFL during the 2012 labor dispute between the NFL Referees Association, that lead to a weeks-long lockout of the regular game officials.  During that lockout, Anderson spoke for the NFL and many of his comments against the NFLRA didn’t endear him to the officials’ union.  According to the January 2013 issue of Referee Magazine, many officials felt Anderson had poisoned the relationship between the NFL and it’s game officials.  The article states:

There was joy and relief among the officials that they were going back to work, but there was anger and bitterness as well. Anderson, whose comments throughout the lockout infuriated the NFLRA, was not greeted warmly in Dallas.

An official at the meeting, who requested anonymity, said Anderson’s comments kept the union unified and committed to its positions. And the hard feelings toward him will not go away any time soon.

“Ray spoke when we voted on the ratification and we came back on that Saturday morning for the vote,” the official said. “Immediately after the vote they had a mini clinic for a couple of hours. He spoke at the beginning of that clinic, and there was dead silence in the room. That tells you all you need to know.”

After the dust from the lockout settled, Anderson was part of another officiating controversy of the crew selected to call Super Bowl XLVII.  Anderson defended the assignments and criticized the Football Zebras report.

There is no word on who is in line to succeed Anderson or if the new executive vice president of football operations will continue to oversee the officiating.

Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"