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Rich Hall and Gary Cavaletto retire, bringing on-field zebra departure to 9

The NFL added two late retirements recently as veteran deep wing Gary Cavaletto and umpire Rich Hall have left the league. As of this writing, a total of nine on-field officials have retired. The NFL needs to fill two replay official positions with the retirement of John McGrath and the mid-season passing of Carl Madsen.

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Rich Hall

Hall retires after 18 seasons, all at umpire. Hall wore number 49 his entire career. He worked on Alex Kemp’s crew in the 2021 season.

While the ultimate prize of a Super Bowl assignment eluded him, Hall was assigned to 12 postseason games, including 7 Wild Card Playoffs, 2 Divisional Playoffs, and 3 Conference Championship games.

Hall saw many changes during his career at umpire, most notably the umpire relocating to the backfield.

With Hall leaving the field, a piece of throwback equipment leaves with him. It might be notable only to historians (or old souls like me), but this season, Hall was one of only two officials remaining who blew a metal pea whistle. After Hall’s retirement, only line judge Jeff Bergman uses a metal whistle.

Off the field, Hall is an expert woodworker who specializes in custom cabinetry.

Gary Cavaletto

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Gary Cavaletto retires after 19 seasons, all as either a side judge or field judge. He wore number 60 for his entire career. This past season, he worked as a swing field judge, substituting on a different crew every week.

Cavaletto worked 13 postseason assignments including 3 Wild Card Playoffs, 4 Divisional Playoffs, 5 Conference Championships and Super Bowl XLVI. He worked the 2018 NFC Championship Game between the Los Angles Rams and the New Orleans Saints and was principal official in the call broke the internet.

Off the field, Cavaletto is a general manager of an agricultural operation.

We congratulate Hall and Cavaletto on their careers as NFL officials and wish them a happy retirement.

NFL closing in on hiring new officials

There are currently 11 officiating openings — two replay officials and nine on-field officials. We are getting close to the hire date. It is very possible the 2022 rookie class of NFL officials will be on the field this spring calling USFL games.

Our reporting indicates that the NFL intends to hire 8 new on-field officials, which would leave one swing official to rotate. The hiring is usually done in April, so that information should come soon. In any event, all the offseason business must be wrapped up by May 15, which is the date when the 2022 season begins officiating-wise.

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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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