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Enshrinement of Art McNally

Officiating community reacts to Art McNally becoming a Hall of Fame finalist

“It is just a great day for officials and a great day for the Hall of Fame.”



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Art McNally, the former referee and supervisor of officials, was nominated as the contributor finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The next step is a virtually assured vote from the entire voting membership of the Hall’s selection committee, and then enshrinement in August 2022.

His extensive accomplishments were part of our post to advocate for his nomination.

Football Zebras reached out to several people in the officiating community for a reaction to the news.

Jim Tunney

former referee and official for 31 years (3 Super Bowls) and current motivational speaker and writer

Art and I have been friends and in the NFL officiating family for 61 years. He started in 1959, and I in 1960. He was my boss from 1968 to 1990 (23 years) when he became supervisor of NFL officials.

When we started, there was a concern in the NCAA (and some bad feelings) that the NFL was stealing their “good” officials. Art stepped up to work with many NCAA conferences to share ideas and techniques that the NFL was using to help them prepare their on-field officials. Art established a solid and coordinated effort between the NCAA and the NFL.

Art, working closely with commissioner Pete Rozelle, established NFL officials as professionals and treated them as such. Art and I both retired in 1990.

He was trusted by all officials. I have often said, “I would play poker over the phone with Art McNally.”

Tunney is known as the “Dean of Referees” and is on the Football Zebras list of candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mike Pereira

Fox Sports rules analyst, former NFL vice president of officiating and side judge

It is just a great day for officials and a great day for the Hall of Fame. The committee heard every positive thing about Art, and it kept coming back to integrity. And that was Art. Everyone who followed him — Jerry Seeman, myself, Carl Johnson, Dean Blandino, Al Riveron, and now Walt Anderson — we all strive to be an Art McNally. That’s the standard we try to reach, but no one ever can, though.

He was supervisor for 23 years, dealing with coaches that long, and still hearing the word integrity is everything.

It makes everyone that has worn the stripes feel really good.

Terry McAulay

NBC Sports rules analyst and former NFL referee (3 Super Bowls)

Walt Anderson

NFL senior vice president of officiating training and development and a former referee (2 Super Bowls)

Nobody has contributed more positively — and for so long — to officiating than Art McNally.  His influence on officiating has spanned six decades and that influence will continue.  It’s great to hear that his contributions to the game are being appropriately recognized by others.

Gene Steratore

NFL on CBS rules analyst and former NFL referee (1 Super Bowl)

Pete Morelli

former NFL referee (1 Super Bowl)

Art McNally is an outstanding human being and should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for all his contributions to the game. These contributions, which include officials mechanics, rules interpretations and development of instant replay, are so numerous. 

However, for me he was the utmost teacher. He taught us all how to be NFL officials by his the example and his character. He is a gentleman and always supportive and understanding. You always wanted Art to be at a game that you officiated. He was very positive and would always thoroughly explain the meaning and development of a particular rule or interpretation. 

NFL officials are respected because of Art McNally.

Jerry Markbreit

former NFL referee (4 Super Bowls)

Art McNally is truly the best of the best in the officiating world. He is absolutely the finest choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Markbreit is on the Football Zebras list of candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Alberto Riveron

Former referee and senior vice president of officiating

When you look up the words official, integrity and teacher in the dictionary, Art McNally’s picture should appear to describe all three. Mr. Arthur, as I called him — he always got on me because I called him Mr. McNally, but I could never call him Art — is the best teacher I have ever met, period.

No other person that I know of has done more for so many officials as he has. From my time in NFL Europe all the way through my tenure as department head, he was always there when I needed his advice and wisdom. All of us that were lucky enough to be around him are truly blessed! 

Bill Carollo

former NFL referee (2 Super Bowls) and current Big Ten coordinator of officials

There are few people in the long history of NFL who have done more to develop the officiating industry than Art McNally.  He was a respected leader and known by coaches and officials for his integrity, honesty and always doing what was fair. 

Art has made a huge impact on our game as well as the hundreds of officials who have worked for him. He is the gold standard for all of sports officiating.

Dean Blandino

Fox Sports rules analyst, former NFL senior vice president of officiating

No one has contributed more to professional football over a longer period of time. Could not be happier for Art as he takes his rightful place amongst the all-time greats.

Paul Tagliabue

former NFL commissioner, Hall of Fame Class of 2020

Art is an outstanding choice. We worked together during four decades on many officiating programs. Art’s integrity, his understanding of the game, his zeal to keep football at every level as the number one sport and his unmatched leadership on all aspects of officiating set him apart.

Tagliabue created the Art McNally Award, which is given annually to a member of the officiating community.

Scott Green

former NFL referee (3 Super Bowls) and current executive director of the NFL Referees Association

Art’s contributions to the NFL are unmatched, and he set the standard with over 52 years of service to the League. Every official who sat in a locker room or rode on a post-game bus with Art can attest to his knowledge, dedication and steadfast commitment to helping officials improve.

Carl Paganelli

current NFL umpire (4 Super Bowls) and president of the NFLRA

For decades, Art has represented the best that officiating is — he is a gentleman, an innovator and a leader, and he puts integrity above all else. This is an overdue honor. The NFLRA was proud to endorse his candidacy, and the entire officiating family looks forward to celebrating a historic moment with Art next year.

Ed Hochuli

former referee (2 Super Bowls)

I have never known anyone, in any field or profession, who is so universally recognized by his peers as having the greatest positive effect on his profession; and Art McNally did it both as an official and as the supervisor of officiating for so many years. He is unequivocally, both recognized and praised, by all current and past NFL officials, as the epitome of officiating.

Ben Austro

Football Zebras founder and editor-in-chief

When you sum up all that he has done for the game of football over more than half of the league’s history, there is no question that there is no one more qualified for the Hall of Fame than Art McNally. He is the gold standard for what a contributor should be and worthy of being the first NFL official to be enshrined.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Contributors Subcommittee members

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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