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Hey, Canton, let’s do this again soon!

Commentary by Mark Schultz from Canton, Ohio

What a whirlwind weekend! Art McNally is officially a Hall of Famer. In a moving ceremony, McNally’s grandchildren presented him and revealed his bust. McNally received plaudits from the crowd — including several retired and active NFL officials.

27,000 people have played or contributed to NFL football in the last 102 seasons. Of those players and contributors, McNally is the first official to be enshrined. We at Football Zebras enjoyed reporting on the weekend and are very grateful to everyone who talked to us. But we would like to make a trip like this again sometime.

Art McNally should be the first of many

McNally’s enshrinement was a long time in coming, especially compared to other halls of fame that have honored game officials.

If the Pro Football Hall of Fame adds an official every three years, and the baseball Hall of Fame stands pat, it will take 27 years for the football Hall of Fame to catch up.

Football Zebras has suggested a total of 14 other officials we believe are worth serious consideration to get a bust in Canton. But sadly, most officials fail to get past the preliminary phase. And, just when we’ve had an officiating breakthrough, it could become more difficult to get an official into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Of our 14 nominees, two officials are still living. There will be other recently retired officials that need serious consideration soon.

It is my hope that someone on the Pro Football Hall of Fame nominating committee takes up the cause of the officials. Football Zebras looks forward to coming back to Canton to celebrate another official enshrinement.

Photos and graphic: Ben Austro/Football Zebras

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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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