NFL100: When John McDonough called The Longest Game on Christmas Day

It's always hard for officials to be away from home on a special holiday. So it was for referee John McDonough and his officiating crew, scheduled to work the Christmas Day divisional playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the visiting Miami Dolphins. McDonough, who officiated Super Bowl IV, and

NFL100: A century of determining who gets the ball first

It is a simple procedure. The game can’t begin without it. Before any football game starts the referee has to decide who gets the ball first. That question has been decided by the coin toss for the past 100 years. The coin toss determines who gets the first choice of

NFL100: When the referee had to rule on things other than football

Usually, a NFL game goes off like a well-oiled machine. The players, coaches, fans, support staff, visual effects, broadcasters and infrastructure all work together to make the game the best show in town. But, sometimes, things happen: circuits overload, pyrotechnics tip over, fans get too drunk, and tornadoes threaten the stadium.

NFL100: The expansion of officiating crews followed the evolution of the game

http://gty.im/515014724 When the NFL was born, only three officials called the game. Now there are seven --nine if you include the replay official and replay assistant -- with calls to add another pair of eyes at field level. As a part of the NFL's 100th season, Football Zebras takes a look at

NFL100: In 1979, the NFL renumbered its officials. After 3 years, they scrapped the failed plan

Forty years ago this fall, NFL officials had a radical new appearance. In 1979 the NFL put the referee in a different color cap, a new uniform design, and changed the way it issued officials' shirt numbers. But, by the end of the 1981 season, that numbering system was gone. What