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Wayne Mackie, VP of officiating development and former head linesman, dies at 62

Wayne Mackie, Super Bowl 50 head linesman, has died suddenly.



Wayne Mackie, Super Bowl 50 head linesman and an NFL vice president of officiating development, died suddenly Thursday night in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 62. Mackie was working with the Competition Committee in advance of the annual owners meeting set to begin there next week.

Mackie joined the NFL in 2007 and wore number 106 for his entire career. He worked 8 playoff games, including 5 Divisional Playoffs, 2 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl 50.

He retired after 10 seasons to work in the league office when Al Riveron was assuming the leadership of the officiating department as senior vice president. Under Riveron, Mackie was the vice president of officiating evaluation and development, which involved coordinating the development pool of officials for potential hires and training initiatives. He also assisted in the evaluation of the officiating staff and their weekly assignments.

“We lost a great father, husband and a dear friend,” Riveron said in an e-mail to Football Zebras. “Wayne’s huge smile, contagious laughter and ability to walk into a room and pick us up emotionally will be missed dearly. Compassion, loyalty, and an endless amount of faith are just some of the many outstanding qualities that he possessed.”

Prior to joining the league office, Mackie was director of operations with the New York City Housing Authority. A resident of Queens, N.Y., he coordinated officiating development programs that were cosponsored by the NFL and the housing authority and provided at no cost to the participants.

“His passion for teaching and helping others not only in officiating but in all aspects of life was monumental,” said Riveron.

In 2021, down judge Maia Chaka was hired by the NFL as the first Black woman on-field official after spending several years in the development program. While the phone call usually comes from the head of the officiating department, she said the news came to her from Mackie, her mentor in the development process.

During his time on the field, Mackie was in consideration for promotion to the referee position, and worked a few preseason games for evaluation.

In 2013, Mackie was on referee Gene Steratore’s crew, who were all featured in an extensive behind-the-scenes look at a week in the life of officials by Peter King in Sports Illustrated.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell shared his thoughts on Mackie in a statement released by the league.

In the last two decades, Wayne solidified his standing as a highly-respected on-field game official, serving as a head linesman at Super Bowl 50 and officiating in two conference championship games during his NFL career. Wayne entered the NFL in 2007, and spent 10 years establishing himself as one of the League’s top officials at his position. Though his on-field officiating career ended in 2016, Wayne joined the NFL’s officiating department in 2017 and has continued to impart his expertise on the next generation of NFL officials through training and development.

Wayne was passionate about the NFL and spent each day making a positive impact on all of us individually and contributing to our collective success. Those who had the pleasure of knowing Wayne will forever remember his kindness, generosity and the genuine spirit he brought to all aspects of his life.

The NFL has experienced an enormous loss – and we are deeply saddened. Our hearts are with Wayne’s family and loved ones during this tragic time.

Mackie ascended to the NFL after working in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the Atlantic 10 and Big East conferences. He graduated from Colgate in 1982.

Mackie is survived by his wife, Tonya, and three daughters: Amber, Krystal, and Jade. It is a huge loss to the officiating community as well.

Riveron concluded by saying, “That man that deeply cared about all of us will always have a special place in our hearts. Love you my friend!”

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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