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2021 Preseason

What is the officiating like at a training camp scrimmage?

What is it like to officiate a NFL scrimmage? Fortunately, they put a microphone on Gene Steratore a few years ago and we now know.



This past week and in the coming few weeks, NFL teams will hold inter-squad scrimmages or scrimmage with another NFL team. It is not a formal game. It’s a chance for players to get a semi-real feel of a game. The NFL assigns officials to these scrimmages to work the semi-live games and give a rules talk to the players.

Also, the officials can knock off some rust in a more relaxed atmosphere.

So, what is it like to officiate a scrimmage? In 2016 the NFL mic’d Gene Steratore for a training camp scrimmage with the New Orleans Saints. Joining him were umpire Bruce Stritesky, line judge Gary Arthur and back judge Dino Paganelli. College officials completed the crew of seven (what a golden opportunity for those college officials to officiate a NFL scrimmage with NFL officials!).

You might notice the officials were a little quick on the whistle. During scrimmages, the officials make sure to blow the whistle to prevent quarterback sacks, or have the prized running back tackled to the ground.

No one was more intense-yet-relaxed-at-the-same-time, than Gene Steratore.

Enjoy this peek into officiating a NFL training camp scrimmage.

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?"