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Walt Anderson promoted to NFL front office, leaves field after 24 seasons

Walt Anderson, a two-time Super Bowl official and 24-year veteran, will leave the field to become an NFL senior vice president.



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Walt Anderson, a two-time Super Bowl official and 24-year veteran, will leave the field to become an NFL senior vice president, according to Mike Sando of The Athletic.

Anderson will oversee officiating training and development. This position was negotiated as part of the new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association.

In 2009, Anderson was a candidate for Mike Pereira’s position, when Pereira left for Fox Sports. Anderson and the league apparently could not come to terms, because the salary would not match his combined income as a referee and as coordinator of football officials for the Big 12 Conference at the time.

According to sources, he was one of at least three individuals seriously considered for the development position.

Anderson, 67, joined the NFL in 1995 and wore number 66 for his entire career. He worked at the line judge position until being promoted to referee prior to the 2003 season. In his career, he worked a total of 19 playoff games on the field: nine wild card games, three divisional playoff contests, five conference championships and Super Bowl XXXV as a line judge and Super Bowl XLV as a referee.

Sando also says that Anderson will report directly to Troy Vincent, executive vice president of football operations, and not to Al Riveron, senior vice president of officiating. On the organization chart, Anderson and Riveron have the same rank of SVP. Our original report on the position indicated that this individual was to report to Riveron, but there must have been some negotiation over that element. The union contract specified a vice-president-level position, but the job was posted as a nonspecific “head of officiating development and training.” It is also unclear how this affects Wayne Mackie, who was originally hired to a vice president position in 2017 that had a focus on development and scouting. Sando also reports that Riveron’s future “is a separate matter.”

According to the job description that was posted, Anderson will oversee the entire staff, but have a targeted emphasis on officials in their first three seasons.

Anderson’s last game was the Vikings-49ers Divisional Playoff.

This makes a total of four officiating roster openings in general and one new referee opening in particular for Riveron to fill in the coming months. In 2020, Anderson’s replacement for referee will be the eighth new referee in three seasons.

Congratulations to Walt Anderson for his on-field career and his promotion to senior vice president with the NFL.

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?"