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Racial milestone no longer a trivia item

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What was once a rare milestone at the Super Bowl in February has now become a commonality in the 2020 season.

The all-star crew that worked Super Bowl LIV was the first time 5 African-American officials worked any NFL game, and only the fourth game ever — regular or postseason — that at least half the crew was African-American.

The officiating department has broken apart the originally announced crews and rearranged them more or less geographically. As a result, Jerome Boger’s crew will now have 5 black officials, and will continue that way throughout the season, although there will be the typical week-to-week substitutions and the atypical ones brought on due to the coronavirus protocols.

In the 2019 season, it was the first time the NFL had a referee and umpire pair who are black on the same regular-season crew, which seems astonishing that it hasn’t happened sooner. It’s not the first time ever, as Boger was paired with now-retired umpire Darrell Jenkins in Super Bowl XLVII. Including active officials, there have been 80 African-American officials in NFL history.

Yrs2019 crewCollegeOccupation
R 23 Jerome Boger 17   Morehouse College retired commercial insurance underwriter
U 20 Barry Anderson 14 Allen North Carolina State builder/developer
DJ 10 Julian Mapp 12 Rogers Grambling State software quality assurance tester
LJ 59 Rusty Baynes 11 Boger Auburn-Montgomery general manager, safety services
FJ 104 Dale Shaw 8 Kemp Allegheny pharmaceutical sales
SJ 36 Anthony Jeffries 3 Corrente Alabama-Birmingham medical sales
BJ 88 Brad Freeman 7 Hussey Mississippi State sports park director
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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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