Football Zebras as learned through multiple secondary sources, that long-time Big Ten college football referee, John O'Neill, has retired from on-field officiating, and has joined the NFL as a referee position coach.
Despite multiple requests, the NFL declined to confirm O'Neill's new position with the league or confirm the
Editors Note: We originally reported two officials had left the field. It is very unusual to have conflicting information at this late stage. According to a source deemed more reliable than others, we have corrected our story to report that one official has left the field.
Football Zebras relied on
Football Zebras was first to report the news on May 3 that the NFL hired 10 new officials.
As we digest the news, here are a few things that I have noticed.
Commitment to diversity
The NFL continues to hire minority and female officials. Down judge Robin DeLorenzo (pictured) becomes the third woman
The NFL added two late retirements recently as veteran deep wing Gary Cavaletto and umpire Rich Hall have left the league. As of this writing, a total of nine on-field officials have retired. The NFL needs to fill two replay official positions with the retirement of John McGrath and the
Three more NFL officials have retired from the field, making a total of six officials that have retired in the 2021 off-season. Previously, Bart Longson, Tom Symonette and Ruben Fowler retired.
After this weekend's mini-clinic comes news that back judge Steve Freeman, back judge Tony Steratore, and line judge Gary Arthur
Retiring officials sometimes leave their shoes on the field after their last game.
Football Zebras has learned that officials Ruben Fowler, Tom Symonette and Bart Longson will not return to the National Football League in the 2021 season. Typically, the NFL does not announce why an official leaves the league, although
This weekend will be an emotional one for some officials who will be calling their final game.
We just don't know yet who will retire.
The NFL hires most officials between the ages of 40 and 45. So, simple math indicates any official who has put in 20 years has the retirement
Two officials will end their career at today's Pro Bowl in Orlando. While Pro Bowl retirement games meant more when played in Hawaii, it will still be a special moment in Orlando this evening as umpire Jeff Rice and down judge Mike Spanier will work their final game.
According to an ESPN report, the NFL will offer a retirement incentive to 22-officials with 20 or more years of experience, provided they retire before the start of the 2020 season.Â
While we don't expect every official to take the retirement incentive, the upcoming offseason could see the biggest exodus of
In the past two seasons, we have seen seven NFL officials promoted to referee due to multiple white hat retirements. While we speculate on who will be the next referee promoted, the NFL actually has a Referee Training Program in place to identify, train, and mentor potential referees well before