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Ramon George is the new NFL head of officiating, Mark Butterworth is VP of replay

New hires are part of a department overhaul



Football Zebras exclusive

The NFL is prepared to hire umpire Ramon George as its next head of officiating, replacing Walt Anderson after a 3-year tenure, according to eight officiating sources. Anderson stepped down from the position last month the same day his son, Derek, was hired as an on-field official.

Additionally, Mark Butterworth, a replay official for 7 seasons on Bill Vinovich’s crew, will be named the vice president of replay. The announcement is expected today.

George is a surprise selection, as he was not one of the officials initially rumored to be interested in the position. However, several sources stated that he was the candidate “targeted” by executive vice president of officiating Troy Vincent, and that as recently as last week he turned it down.

A source stated that late last week Vincent met with George in Houston to discuss a deal that is expected to be signed today.

UPDATE (2:30 pm ET): After initial publication, additional details became available from our sources. George will likely not have the senior vice president title that Anderson, his predecessor, had. George and Butterworth will have vice president titles, and George Stewart, vice president of officiating training and development, will retain his title. The details have not been finalized, but the new reporting structure appears to be the three vice presidents will report to Perry Fewell, senior vice president of officiating administration. Fewell would be the sole direct report to executive vice president Vincent. Our sources said this could change over the coming days. The rulebook does make reference to the senior vice president of officiating in the replay section, and those references will presumably be updated.

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The eight-year umpire worked 113 regular season games, 3 Wild Card Playoff games, 1 Divisional Playoff, and 2 Conference Championship games. In the 2023 preseason, he worked one game at the referee position, and even had to preside over an ejection.

George declined to comment.

In 2023, Football Zebras highlighted his physical hustle and “extraordinary situational awareness” in the Week 2 Call of the Week feature. In the 2021 Wild Card Playoffs, an ill-advised run by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in the middle of the field caused the clock to expire before the Cowboys could snap the ball. George was seen attempting to spot the ball — according to the end-of-game mechanics — and because of his speed, almost gave the Cowboys the ability to get one last snap.

George was hired by the NFL in 2016 from Conference USA. He worked the 2023 season on Brad Rogers’ crew; he was also on Rogers’ crew in Conference USA. His first two seasons were on Clete Blakeman’s crew, and was moved over to Scott Novak’s crew after Novak was promoted to white hat. He spent four seasons on that crew. Typically, a first-year referee will be paired up with a strong referee for support; the fact that George was only in his third season showed the league’s confidence in George.

Butterworth joined the NFL replay staff in 2014 after working as a local replay communicator in Cleveland since 1999, the first season of the current NFL replay system.

George, 51, lives in Jacksonville and most recently was a risk manager in the banking industry. Butterworth, 52, is from Canton, Ohio, and is the president of a private high school.

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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  1. Matt

    May 9, 2024 at 4:41 pm

    Will the NFL now need to hire a new Umpire from the college ranks, to fill his spot on the field?

  2. Tommy

    May 9, 2024 at 7:37 pm

    Try not to slander anyone like you did Mike weetherford

  3. Anonymous

    May 10, 2024 at 2:36 pm

    They could use the one Los Official as umpire since the one Official Hired was a College U but got hired as LOS or have Fred Bryan be a U or DJ

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