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4 more officials leave the NFL with 10 total vacancies to fill

Three more official join referee Jerome Boger in retiring from the NFL. The total off-season retirements now stand at 10.



Football Zebras has confirmed through multiple secondary sources that in addition to referee Jerome Boger, three more officials have retired, bringing the off-season retirement list to 10 — and there will be more, according to a source.

In a surprising move, some officials are definitely early in their NFL careers and were assigned to on-field playoff games this past season. The retiring officials are Jerry Bergman Jr., Steve Patrick and Walt Coleman IV.

The NFL never tells the public why an official retires from the league. It is up to the official to share their story as to why they retired. However, three of the four recently retired officials did not receive an assignment in the 2022 postseason. The number of available assignments for on-field and alternate officials far exceeds the number of officiating staff members; a shutout from the postseason barring an injury or medical situation is a strong indicator of performance. Coleman, who worked a divisional playoff game, left on his own volition according to two sources.

We are aware of one to three other officials that are leaving the league, but have not confirmed those details.

Jerry Bergman Jr.

Jerry Bergman Jr. retires after a 21-year NFL career, all at the down judge position. He wore number 91 his entire NFL officiating career. He is the brother of Jeff and the son of the late Jerry Bergman Sr., also NFL officials. The brothers officiated together on the same crew for several years. The referee of that crew was Jerome Boger.

Bergman worked a total of 11 playoff games on the field — six wild card games, four divisional games and Super Bowl LII. His Super Bowl assignment was his last playoff assignment.

Off the field, he is a sales executive.

Jeff’s and Jerry’s retirement ends (for the moment) an impressive streak. A Bergman has been a NFL official continuously since 1966. But there is another Bergman in the wings. Jeff’s son, Brett, is a Big 10 college official, XFL official, and a member of the Mackie Development Program, and if Brett is hired this year, he will be able to keep the streak alive.

Steve Patrick

Steve Patrick retires after a nine-year career. He was a back judge his entire career and wore uniform number 17. This past season he worked on Jerome Boger’s crew.

Patrick retires after working one wild card game and four alternate assignments.

Off the field he is an owner of a supply company.

Walt Coleman IV

Walt Coleman IV retires after eight years as a NFL official. He started as a side judge and then switched to line judge. He is the son of fellow 30 Club member, his dad, Walt Coleman. The younger Coleman began his career wearing uniform number 87, then switched to his dad’s number 65 when he retired. In his eight seasons he worked four playoff assignments on the field — two wild card games and two divisional games. He worked on the field in the playoffs in three of his last four seasons, including the Eagles-Giants divisional round.

Coleman’s retirement comes at a young age. He was just coming into the prime of his career. We don’t know the reason, but we are told by two sources that the younger Coleman’s decision was “100% his choice.”

Off the field, Coleman is a portfolio manager.

10 job openings now. More coming?

The NFL is now going to fill 10 officiating openings. There were two swing officials this past season so there may not be 10 hires. The new hires will come from the Mackie Development Program. We will continue to report on any further retirements, new hires and any rule changes this off-season.

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?"