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4 more hired to fill out officials’ roster



The NFL has hired four more officials due a late shuffle of retirements and front office moves. The new hires, with their most recent college position, are:

  • U — Steve Woods (Big Ten)
  • L — Brian Bolinger (Big Ten)
  • B — Mearl Robinson (Pac 12)
  • L — Danny Short (ACC)

All four officials come from the NFL’s Officiating Development Program — Woods and Robinson for two seasons, Bolinger and Short for one. Some worked college all-star games in January — the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game — which is run by the NFL.

Bolinger’s last game was the Peach Bowl, and Short officiated the Cotton Bowl.

This is in addition to the four hires announced by the officials’ union back in March.

There are now 124 officials on the roster for 119 positions. That means there will be five swing officials again this year, more than usual. The NFL uses swing officials to rove between crews week to week to substitute for injured officials. If the NFL also wants to hire a new official, they will have a veteran move to swing official for a season to get the rookie on a crew. Being a swing official is not a demotion and does not indicate an official’s standing with the league.

All officials will meet later this month in northern New Jersey for a mini-clinic and camp. Senior vice president of officiating, Al Riveron will hand out crew assignments and the officials learn the season’s policies and procedures. 

The full NFL officials’ clinic takes place in the Dallas area in late July.

Photo above: Mearl Robinson (left) courtesy of Getty Images

Cover photo: Danny Short (L) courtesy of the Pitt Panthers


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?"