Football Zebras has learned though multiple secondary sources that referee Jerome Boger has retired. The total number of on-field officials retiring after the 2022 season now stands at seven, with more retirements in the offing. NFL Officiating tweeted the information as we prepared for publication.
The NFL never tells the public why an official retires from the league. Sometimes an off-season physical exam reveals an illness or chronic orthopedic issue that requires retirement. Sometimes officials, no matter their years of experience or on-field accomplishments, retire because of work/life balance, new responsibilities in their non-officiating job, or they simply are tired of the NFL officiating fast lane.
And there are times when the NFL informs a veteran or under-performing official that the time has come to retire. The NFL always (and rightly) treats this as a dignified retirement for the official.
Boger retires after 19 NFL seasons. He worked as a line judge and, starting in 2006, referee. He wore number 109 to start his career at line judge and switched to number 23 when he became a referee – to honor retired official and mentor Johnny Grier.
Boger worked a total of seven playoff assignments on the field, all but one at the referee position. He worked two wild card games, four divisional games and Super Bowl XLVII. At the time, his Super Bowl assignment created controversy among the NFL officiating fraternity. This story created a big debate leading up to the game on how the NFL assigns officials to the Super Bowl.
But, during the game, Boger had to deal with a delay caused by a power outage in the Louisiana Superdome and handled the situation very well. And, the game was, overall, well-officiated. Any game featuring both Jim and John Harbaugh yelling at the officials after every play is a hard game to work, and Boger prepared his crew well.
In 2020, the NFL honored Boger by having him lead the first all Black officiating crew in league history for the Week 11 Monday Night Football Game.
Boger’s final playoff assignment was the 2021 Wild Card game between the Bengals and Raiders. There was an erroneous whistle during the the game that we initially thought came from another official. But we have confirmed from several sources that Boger blew the whistle.
While many fans have had much to say about Boger over the years, the veteran referee has projected nothing but a calm dignity on the field. He has endured the slings and arrows (as all officials do) by simply keeping his head down and putting in the work. One has to be a competent and worthy official to have lasted 19 years.
Even though Boger retired, we can safely say that he will still have a keen eye on the officiating world. His son Tra, just finished his rookie campaign as a NFL official. Jerome and Tra got to work a pre-season game together this past August.
Off the field, Boger is a retired insurance underwriter.
New officials to be hired
The NFL is now in the process of hiring new officials. And it will need to appoint a new referee to replace Boger. The NFL usually announces the new officiating hires sometime in March.
Football Zebras will publish an article in the near future about the officials who could be appointed referee, and we will also report on the new hires when announced or any other late retirements.
Congratulations and best wishes to Jerome Boger on his retirement.