Thursday, January 21, 2021

History: NFL’s First All-Black Team of Officials Takes the Field (Video)

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First all-Black officiating crew in NL history to work a football game

*NFL’s first all-Black team of officials took the field Monday night as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced the LA Rams

Jerome Boger lead the team of officials, which umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed. Five members of the crew work together regularly. Johnson and Steed joined the group for Monday night’s matchup between NFC playoff contenders.

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First all-Black officiating crew in NL history to work a football game

Burl Toler paved the way. In 1965, after beginning his officiating career working college games in the San Francisco Bay Area, the NFL hired Toler as a head linesman — making him the first Black official in any major professional sports league.

Members of the Monday night’s crew have a combined 89 seasons of NFL experience and have worked six Super Bowls. When the NFL announced the crew was being assembled last week, league executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent hailed the move “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.”

In a commemorative video made by the NFL, Boger said: “I am humbled to stand on the shoulders of the black officials who paved the way for me.”

Watch the video below or watch here on Twitter.

Below, Lisa Salters of ESPN examines the history-making night:

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