Football Zebras
NewsMark Baltz, an NFL official for 26 seasons, is named 2021 NFLRA Honoree

Mark Baltz, an NFL official for 26 seasons, is named 2021 NFLRA Honoree

Mark Baltz, a former NFL head linesman (now called down judge) is the NFL Referees Association 2021 Honoree. The NFLRA made the announcement last week.

In a NFLRA news release, Baltz commented,

It is truly an honor to have been selected by my friends and peers with whom I worked on the field in the NFL, as well as serving in a leadership capacity with my brethren on the NFLRA Board. Lifetime friendships were formed during those 25 great years, which served as the second half of my wonderfully rewarding 50-year sports officiating career.

Baltz worked in the NFL from 1989-2013. He worked 21 postseason games – five wild cards, eight divisionals and five conference championships. He also worked one Pro Bowl and was twice an alternate.

Sadly, Baltz never officiated a Super Bowl, despite being the number one ranked head linesman on more than one occasion, according to reports. He officiated arguably the most exciting regular season game in modern history, when he worked the 1994 Broncos-Chiefs Monday Night Football game featuring John Elway and Joe Montana.

“Everyone who has worked with Mark, either on the field or at the union, knows that he is not just an outstanding official, but an outstanding man,” said NFLRA President Tony Steratore in the officiating union’s news release. “He has given so much to our officiating community, and we are honored to celebrate his career and accomplishments.”

In 2000, Baltz became treasurer for the NFLRA and was part of the leadership team when the NFL locked out its officials in 2012.

Baltz started officiating at age 19 while a college student in Ohio. After moving to Indiana after college, Baltz worked his way up through the football officiating ladder until he made it to the NFL. He also worked high school basketball and worked the Indiana state high school basketball championships (viewed by some in Indiana as bigger than the Super Bowl!).

After retiring from the NFL, Baltz became the coordinator of football officials for NCAA Division III. He also serves on the board of directors for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

The NFLRA will honor Baltz at a union gathering later this spring, as will Tim Millis, who is receiving the 2020 honor which was delayed and announced last month.

Congratulations to Mark Baltz for receiving the 2021 NFLRA Honoree award.

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Mark Schultz
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?"

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