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Replay official Carl Madsen dies at 71

Carl Madsen, a replay official and former umpire, died in Nashville while traveling



Carl Madsen 1949-2021

Carl Madsen, a replay official and former umpire, died in Nashville while traveling home from his game assignment on Sunday. He was 71. The Associated Press is reporting that Madsen experienced a medical issue while driving home.

Madsen was an umpire on the field from 1997 to 2008, when a nagging injury lead to his retirement. He moved to the replay booth in 2010. He worked a total of 8 postseason assignments: 2 Wild Card game and 2 Divisional Playoffs on the field, and 2 Divisional Playoffs and 2 Conference Championships in the replay booth. He also was on the field for the 1999 Pro Bowl in Honolulu. He was assigned to referee Brad Allen’s crew this season.

Senior vice-president of officiating Walt Anderson informed the officiating staff in an e-mail earlier today:

Carl Madsen was an NFL officiating fixture for more than two decades, first as a highly-respected on-field official before transitioning to a replay role beginning in 2009. A terrific friend and colleague, Carl’s love of football and dedication to officiating was ever-present, as he generously shared his time to mentor young officials at clinics across the country. A veteran of the Air Force, Carl had a tremendous spirit and will be greatly missed.

Scott Green, executive director of the NFL Referees Association, also added in a statement via the league, “Carl will be missed by those who worked with him on the field and in replay. He had a nickname among his fellow officials of ‘Big Country’ which was not only related to his size but to his big personality as a warm and generous man.”

Madsen was driving to his home in Weldon Spring, Missouri, less than 2 hours after the conclusion of his final game between the Chiefs and Titans when he died. According to the Associated Press, citing a police spokesman, Madsen’s vehicle was reported stopped in one of the lanes on northbound Interstate 65 at 4:46 p.m., central time, and he was unconscious. Police broke the window and began chest compressions. He was transported to St. Thomas Midtown Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the AP.

Madsen was a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.

Madsen is the first official to have died during the season since umpire David Hamilton, who passed days before a conference championship alternate assignment in January 1995. Back judge Bob Lawing died during the 2009-10 offseason was the last official to pass away while on the active roster, although he was on a leave of absence for cancer treatment at the time.

Obviously, this is devastating news to the officiating community, and our thoughts are with his family and his extended officiating family.

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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