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Referees union is honoring 3 retiring officials

The NFLRA announced it is honoring three officials who retired at the end of the 2016 season: HL John McGrath, LJ Tony Veteri, and SJ Bob Waggoner.




The National Football League Referees’ Association announced it is honoring three officials who retired at the end of the 2016 season: head linesman John McGrath, line judge Tony Veteri, and side judge Bob Waggoner. All three will be recognized at the union’s annual meeting in April.

The statement released by the NFLRA confirms that, as of now, there are no more than the three retirements, as reported here at the end of the season. As there is one vacant supervisor position, there is a possibility for an additional retirement to be imminent.

“These men have had extensive and impressive careers in NFL officiating,” said NFLRA executive director Scott Green said in a statement. “We have been fortunate to have them as colleagues and friends. They will be missed on the field but will always be a part of our fraternity. We wish the absolute best in their retirements.”

In the statement from the NFLRA, the three retiring officials offered some perspective on their careers.

McGrath worked in the NFL for 15 seasons as a head linesman, and has moved to the replay booth. His brother, Bob, is leaving as a replay official. John McGrath worked 12 postseason games, including Super Bowl XLIV.

What a great opportunity to work with some of the best people and officials in the world. I loved every game. I always said I wanted to go out on my own terms, and I did.

Tony Veteri  had 25 seasons under his belt in the NFL and worked 18 postseason games, including Super Bowl XXXV. His father, the late Tony Verteri Sr., was an official in the American Football League and the NFL after the 1970 merger.

I am proud to have had the privilege to wear the number of my dad [36] who worked Super Bowls II, VII, XII and XV. I’m incredibly thankful to all who supported me on my officiating journey. It was really the best of times.

Bob Waggoner was an all-utility official who filled in at every position, including a recent preseason regimen at referee to give crews experience if they were one member short due to injury. Waggoner was in the NFL for 20 years and worked Super Bowl XL as a back judge and Super Bowl XLIX (pictured above) as a field judge.

While I will not miss getting home at 2 a.m., I’ll miss all the wonderful people associated with NFL game days. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren and finding that antique treasure.

Image: Seattle Seahawks 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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