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Staff changes highlight chaotic officiating offseason

Major shuffling in the officiating department continues late into the offseason.



Senior vice president Al Riveron is nearing the end of his first full offseason in charge of the officiating department after seeing seismic turnover in the staff. The exodus of four referees is unprecedented not only in number but also in their late timing.

The NFL Referees Association confirmed that six of the officials in the table below are retiring this offseason in March. Six new hires were also announced around the same time.

In May, line judge Ron Marinucci also retired, after a 21-year career. “Ron has been a colleague and a friend to the NFL officiating family for more than two decades, and we are excited for him to enjoy his retirement after a successful NFL career,” said NFLRA Executive Director Scott Green. His empty slot was filled by Chad Hill, most recently a side judge in the SEC. “Becoming an NFL official is a long, demanding process, and we welcome Chad to the union,” said NFLRA President Tony Steratore. Hill was the field judge for the 2017 Senior Bowl.

Rounding out the list, field judge Jon Lucivansky has also left the NFL after a 9-year run.

In addition to the new officials, four new referees were promoted from the current staff, each with 5 years or less of NFL experience, which is fairly typical in order to maximize the tenure of the most visible officials. There were 16 other position changes, most of which were to change to the mirror position on the opposite sideline.

Last year, there were 5 swing officials that were not attached to any crew and would substitute through the season. This bench has been reduced to 2 to account for some of the late departures. Of note, there are no umpires on the swing crew, which causes a potential problem in Week 17. If an umpire is injured, he will be replaced by the umpire on the crew that is off that week. Should two umpires be injured, there is no bench to draw from, which will cause someone to work out of position.

Leaving the field

      Yrs 2017 crew College Occupation
R 42 Jeff Triplette 22   Wake Forest restructuring consultant
R 77 Terry McAulay 20   Louisiana State college officiating coordinator
R 85 Ed Hochuli 28   Texas-El Paso attorney
R 114 Gene Steratore 15   Kent State co-owner, supply company
DJ 37 Jim Howey 19 (swing) Erskine College director of adult education
DJ 123 Ed Walker 4 Hussey San Jose State real estate management
LJ 107 Ron Marinucci 21 Hussey Glassboro State vice president, novelty cone company
FJ 82 Buddy Horton 19 Corrente Oregon State water service worker
FJ 89 Jon Lucivansky 9 Vinovich Minnesota college educator
SJ 125 Laird Hayes 23 Anderson Princeton physical education and athletics

New officials in 2018

    Name  Yrs in ODP Conference
FJ 130  Land Clark 2016-2017 Pac-12
FJ 96 Matt Edwards 2015-2016 Big Ten
SJ 125 Chad Hill 2017 SEC
FJ 36 Anthony Jeffries 2017 SEC
BJ  67  Tony Josselyn 2016-2017 SEC
LJ 75  Mark Stewart 2016-2017 Big 12
FJ 58  Don Willard 2016-2017 Big Ten

Promoted to referee

      Yrs 2017 crew College Occupation
R 55 Alex Kemp 5 Hochuli Central Michigan insurance agent
R 83 Shawn Hochuli 5 Allen Claremont financial advisor
R 14 Shawn Smith 4 Hochuli Ferris State internal auditor
R 19 Clay Martin 4 Cheffers Oklahoma Baptist high school basketball coach

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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