January 19, 2021

NFL’s first all-black team of officials take charge of MNF

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Jerome Boger lead the team of officials who took charge of the game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Boger said: “I am humbled to stand on the shoulders of the black officials who paved the way for me.”

Last Updated: 24/11/20 8:47am

Jerome Boger lead the history-making team of officials Jerome Boger lead the history-making team of officials

Jerome Boger lead the history-making team of officials

In 1965, Burl Toler became the first African American to officiate in the NFL. Fifty-five years on, for the first time in the league’s history, an all-black crew officiated Monday Night Football.

Jerome Boger lead the team of officials, which is largely made up of his usual crew with a few new additions, taking charge of the Week 11 match-up between the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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.”

The NFL’s first all-black crew of officials

Referee Jerome Boger  17th season, Morehouse – 2012 Season SB XLVII
Umpire Barry Anderson  14th season, North Carolina State – 2019 Season SB LIV
Down Judge Julian Mapp 12th season, Grambling State
Line Judge Carl Johnson  17th season, Nicholls State – 2019 Season SB LIV; 2007 Season SB XLII
Side Judge Dale Shaw 8th season, Allegheny
Field Judge Anthony Jeffries  3rd season, Alabama-Birmingham
Back Judge Greg Steed  18th season, Howard – 2019 Season SB LIV; 2009 Season SB XLIV

Line judge Carl Johnson and back judge Greg Steed, who both officiated at Super Bowl LIV in Miami in January, joined the history-making team.

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Watch the history-making crew of all-black officials talk about their accomplishment

Watch the history-making crew of all-black officials talk about their accomplishment

Johnson said: “Through hard work and perseverance anything is possible. I am happy and honoured to be contributing, in such a small way, to this big moment in the history of the National Football League.”

Toler, who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 1952 draft, made the transition to becoming an official after suffering a knee injury which forced him into early retirement and subsequently led to him creating history as the league’s first black official. He worked as a head linesman from 1965 until 1980, officiating at Super Bowl XIV in 1979.

Julian Mapp, who was down judge on Monday Night Football, said: “Toler created change and hope for future African American officials in the NFL.”

In a statement from the league, NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said: “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.”