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Football Zebras
2020Coronavirus PandemicSeven officials have opted out of the 2020 NFL season

Seven officials have opted out of the 2020 NFL season

The NFL and the NFL Referees Association reached an agreement on Sunday on the terms for officials to sit out the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The agreement gave officials 4 days to consider their options before the Aug. 13 opt-out deadline. Those that opted out would receive a $30,000 payment and would not be prohibited from resuming work in 2021.

Football Zebras has confirmed that the following officials have chosen to opt out of the upcoming season. Crews have been readjusted to be more geographically aligned to minimize travel, and they will be further adjusted to account for the opt-out officials. It is possible that the NFL will call up some of its officials in the development pool to work this season whenever, or if ever, it kicks off. Officials are listed with the crew they were originally assigned to in May and the number of years experience, not including 2020.

Yrs2020 crewCollegeOccupation
LJ 32 Jeff Bergman 28 Kemp Robert Morris president and chief executive officer, medical services
BJ 133 Steve Freeman 19 Kemp Mississippi State custom home builder
FJ 80 Greg Gautreaux 19 Blakeman SW Louisiana athletic programs manager
FJ 73 Joe Larrew 18 (swing) St Louis attorney
BJ 112 Tony Steratore 21 Boger California (Pa.) co-owner, supply company

Additionally, replay official Carl Madsen, as well as another replay official, will also be opting out. This post will be updated once the second replay official’s identity is known.

For Bergman, it puts a pause on his potential to reach his 30th NFL season, an achievement his father, Jerry Bergman Sr., accomplished with only 6 other officials in history. Hired in 1991, Bergman also took leave of absence in 1997.

Football Zebras can also confirm that field judge Joe Larrew is actually on the 2020 staff and is opting out, despite the fact that he left the field after the 2019 season. We have subsequently learned that Larrew and fellow field judge Steve Zimmer were dismissed following the previous season and successfully appealed their termination.

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Ben Austro
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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