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NFL got it right with three new referee hires




Allen, Torbert, and Wrolstad impress in first few weeks

This is the first time since the early 1990s that the NFL assigned three new referees in one season.  Brad Allen, Ron Torbert and Craig Wrolstad are working their first season as a NFL white hat.  Earlier, I wrote about my impressions of Allen.  I’ve had the chance to see each referee work a regular season game and my first impressions of each one are favorable.

I was able to see Wrolstad during the Week 3 Thursday Night Football game.  He hasn’t been a regular referee for several years, but he has appeared to take to the referee position quite nicely.  His microphone work was solid he appeared in control of all situations.

I watched Ron Torbert when he was a Big 10 referee and I expected him to some day be a NFL referee.  I was able to see him for the first time as a NFL referee during the Week 3 Sunday Night Football game.  Torbert was in control, his mic work was solid and he appeared calm under pressure.

All three new referees appear to be supremely confident (not cocky) and ready to take whatever officiating challenges the NFL throws at them.

The other officials on Torbert’s, Wrolstad’s and Allen’s crews also deserve high marks as they work hard to help the new referees to make sure their season is a successful one.

Now, these observations appear with the caveat that we don’t know how each referee graded out when the NFL looked at the film.  First-year referees usually aren’t assigned to the playoffs, so we won’t be able to gauge their skill by the postseason this year.  But, we can judge the new referees by their presence and the way they handle themselves in the heat of battle.

Hiring a new white hat is an assignment the NFL can’t get wrong.  By the looks of things, it seems the NFL got it right in hiring the three new referees this season.

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?"