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NFL is scouting the officials at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is the second college all-star invitational game of the 2023 post-bowl season.



The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is the second college all-star invitational game of the 2023 post-bowl season. Operated by the NFL players union, the NFL officiating department selects officials from its development program for the game.

The Hula Bowl was the first such game in 2023, and featured an officiating crew of all women.

Scott Campbell, will lead the crew of 7 plus one alternate in the game which will be played in the iconic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

The remaining invitational games are the East-West Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl, both next week, and the second annual Legacy Bowl at the end of February.

While these invitational games are a good vehicle to showcase college talent, they have also been so for officiating. The NFL assigns the officials that work these games from their development pool of college officials. These games are used as extra “grass time” to evaluate select officials in the development program, which is the exclusive conduit to officiating in the NFL.

The NFL’s Mackie Development Program — renamed last year for the late Wayne Mackie who spearheaded development initiatives as a former NFL official and executive — has as many as 40 officials each year. MDP officials get extra training from the NFL and will work in NFL training camps during the summer months.

Campbell is a referee in the Big 12, and worked as an umpire in the 2019 Alliance of American Football and the 2020 XFL. Three of his crew members worked New Year’s Six bowl games a month ago.

Here is the crew roster for the game, including notations for officials who have been in the MDP program in the last 3 years, assignments to bowl games this season, and assignment to one of the three spring pro football leagues (the ones indicated here all worked in the 2019 AAF and 2020 XFL).

R Scott Campbell MDP PRO ★PINSTRIPE 
U Robert Richeson MDP ★ROSE 
FJ Frank Steratore MDP PRO ★GATOR
SJ Phillip Hicks MDP ★ORANGE
BJ Courtney Brown MDP
ALT Antoine Cason 

Answering the question on many people’s minds, yes, Frank Steratore is related to Gene Steratore, the retired NFL referee and current CBS Sports rules analyst. Frank is a cousin of Gene and Tony, also a former NFL official, who worked as a back judge.

Steratore is entering his eighth season in the MDP, the highest of anyone in the program’s history.

Also of note, Antoine Cason was a cornerback for the Chargers, Cardinals, Panthers, and Ravens from 2008-14. He is currently officiating high school football games, and is assigned as an alternate, which appears to be a new thing this year. The officiating department has tried to fast-track former players into officiating, and currently there are 4 former players officiating in the NFL.

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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