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Throwback Thursday: Referee Norm Schachter was wired for sound in 1966, but the NFL shelved the footage for decades

Let’s go back to 1966 when NFL Films put a microphone on referee Norm Schachter.



Back in 1966, NFL Films was still young. There was a new technology that allowed audio engineers to pick up sounds from the football field, with the subject wearing a wireless microphone.

NFL Films had mic’d up players, and they wanted to try putting a microphone on a referee. Norm Schachter was one of the premier referees of the day, and the honor fell to him to wear the microphone.

Back then, the wireless microphone wasn’t the little lapel clip of today. Schachter had to strap the microphone around his chest and wear a bulky battery pack. But, the film wound up being shelved at the league’s insistence for 40 years, until NFL Films showed the footage in 2006.

On Schachter’s crew that day were umpire Joe Connell, head linesman Burl Toler, line judge Jack Fette, back judge Adrian Burke and field judge Herm Rohrig. (The side judge position did not exist until 1978.)

Enjoy some rare footage of a premier officiating crew from 1966.

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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