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NFL and CFL continue officiating partnership



The Canadian Football League and the NFL will continue to exchange officials in the early part of the CFL season and the NFL preseason.

This is the third year of the NFL-CFL officiating exchange program.

NFL officials will go north of the border in the summer and call games in the first few weeks of the CFL season. Later this summer, a select group of CFL officials will come to the United States and participate in the NFL preseason program, culminating with them calling NFL preseason games.

The purpose of this exchange program is to give younger officials the chance to see more game action. Unlike hockey, basketball and baseball, pro football officials work maybe 20 games a season. Officials can study so many rules and view so many film clips. Eventually, they need grass time. This exchange gives those young officials more grass time.

In order to avoid issues acclimating to a new rules set, officials in the program from both leagues tend to work deep positions where there are the least differences.

Football Zebras can confirm that these NFL officials will work CFL games this summer, shown with their NFL experience including 2018.

      Yrs College Occupation
FJ 31 Mearl Robinson 2 Air Force instructor
SJ 130 Land Clark 1   city building official
SJ 25 Ryan Dickson 2 Utah commercial real estate developer
SJ 58 Don Willard 1 Illinois State physical therapy clinic manager

The NFL will announce the Officiating Development Program officials in July and we’ll know the CFL officials who will work preseason then.

It is encouraging to see both leagues continue to use this program to improve 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?"