Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; NFL referee Bill Vinovich during Super Bowl LIV between the San Francisco 49ers against the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Vinovich leads Super Bowl LVIII officiating crew

Bill Vinovich will referee Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Feb. 11, the NFL announced Tuesday.

Vinovich, 63, also led the officiating crews at Super Bowls XLIX and LIV.

Joining Vinovich will be umpire Terry Killens, down judge Patrick Holt, line judge Mark Perlman, field judge Tom Hill, side judge Allen Baynes and back judge Brad Freeman. Mike Chase is the replay official.

Perlman and Hill are both making their fourth Super Bowl appearance. It is the second Super Bowl for Chase and the first for the others.

–Field Level Media

Nov 2, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) makes the game winning touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the fourth quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Pittsburgh won 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Steelers’ Diontae Johnson fined $25K for criticizing officials

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson was fined $25,000 by the NFL for his criticism of officials following his team’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Pro Football Talk reported Sunday.

“Refs were just killing us the whole game,” Johnson said following the Steelers’ 20-10 loss to the Jaguars on Oct. 29, per ESPN. “… I didn’t like the refs today. They must’ve got paid good today or something, but they blew — that field goal, that hurt us coming into the half. We needed that.”

Johnson was referring to an offside call that negated Chris Boswell’s 56-yard field goal. Boswell missed the ensuing 61-yard attempt.

Johnson, 27, had eight catches for 85 yards in that game versus Jacksonville. He added seven receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown in Pittsburgh’s 20-16 win over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday, boosting his season totals to 23 grabs for 302 yards and one touchdown in five games.

A Pro Bowl selection in 2021, Johnson has 363 catches for 3,948 yards and 21 touchdowns in 69 games (60 starts) since the Steelers drafted him in the third round in 2019.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; NFL referee Ron Torbert (62) signals during the second half between the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Torbert named lead referee for Super Bowl LVI

Ron Torbert will serve as the lead referee for Super Bowl LVI, the NFL announced Tuesday.

Torbert joined the NFL’s officiating staff as a side judge in 2010 before being promoted to referee in 2014. He will receive his first Super Bowl assignment when the AFC and NFC champions square off on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

Umpire Bryan Neale and side judge Keith Washington will be making their Super Bowl debuts next month.

Down judge Derick Bowers will work his second Super Bowl, while line judge Carl Johnson, field judge Rick Patterson and back judge Scott Helverson are scheduled to work their third Super Bowl.

Roddy Ames will serve as the replay official.

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd catches a touchdown pass in the second quarter.

Syndication The Enquirer

Report: Bengals-Raiders officiating crew done for playoffs

The officiating crew for Saturday’s Las Vegas Raiders-Cincinnati Bengals AFC wild-card game is not expected to work again this postseason, according to a report from ESPN that cited an unnamed league source.

The crew, led by referee Jerome Boger, fell under scrutiny for a few issues, most notably a whistle that was blown during a play that saw Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throw a touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd in the back of the end zone late in the second quarter.

The report indicated that the officials, an assembly of members from other regular-season crews, as is customary during the postseason, would not receive high grades for the game.

On the play, Burrow was scrambling and released the football just before he stepped out of bounds. Replay indicated that the whistle, which the officials called inadvertent, came while the ball was in the air and just before Boyd made the catch. The defender closest to Boyd appeared to ease up on the play just before the catch was made.

However, the officiating crew “determined that they had a whistle, but that the whistle for them on the field was blown after the receiver caught the ball,” according to Walt Anderson, the league’s senior vice president of officiating, who spoke to a pool reporter after the game.

The Bengals extended their lead to 20-6 with the score, and held on for a 26-19 win thanks to a goal-line interception of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in the closing seconds.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA;  NFL referee Jerome Boger (23) in action during the fourth quarter of the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Chiefs won 42-37. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

First all-Black officiating crew to work Monday night

For the first time in NFL history, an all-Black officiating crew will work next Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and Buccaneers in Tampa.

Referee Jerome Boger will lead the historic crew, which includes umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed.

“This historic Week 11 crew is a testament to the countless and immeasurable contributions of Black officials to the game, their exemplary performance, and to the power of inclusion that is the hallmark of this great game,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said.

The NFL normally assembles its 17 officiating crews prior to the season and works to keep them together in order to promote teamwork and communication. The crews were organized geographically this year to reduce travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All of the officials for the Monday night game are regular members of Boger’s crew except for Johnson and Steed, who were pulled from other crews.

–Field Level Media

Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Officials huddle following a penalty during the third quarter of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NFL won’t have full-time officials in 2020

The NFL will not bring back its full-time officiating program in 2020, ESPN reported Tuesday.

The officials will remain as part-time employees.

In the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the league converted some officials to full-time employees, a response to those who said the officiating would improve with the move. It was discarded in 2019 as the league and the NFL Referees Association negotiated their collective bargaining agreement.

ESPN said the league had decided in May to make an estimated 10 officials full-time employees but told the union last week that costs made the move impossible.

As full-time employees, the officials could spend the offseason taking part in training programs instead of holding jobs as most do.

Five on-field officials and two replay officials have opted out of the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

–Field Level Media

Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Officials huddle following a penalty during the third quarter of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Seven NFL officials opt out of season

Five on-field and two replay officials – but no referees – have opted out of the upcoming season due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to two reports Friday.

The deadline for game officials to opt out was Thursday.

Officials who take a leave of absence due to the pandemic receive a $30,000 stipend and job guarantees for the 2021 season.

ESPN reports that the league’s roster of officials is at 114, enough to fully cover every NFL game this season. However, the league is expected to hire roughly a half-dozen officials in the event of missed games due to illness or COVID-19 related absences.

NFL Network also reported the news.

–Field Level Media