NFL assembles all-Black officiating crew for first time

NFL field judge Anthony Jeffries

(AP) - The NFL had an all-Black officiating crew for the first time in league history when the Rams played the Buccaneers on Monday night, Nov. 23.

“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,” said Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations.

The crew consisted of: referee Jerome Boger, umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed.

Jeffries spoke with Sheldon Haygood about the historic event.

The league has assigned crews based on geography this season to limit travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Crew assignment guidelines have also been relaxed to assign officials to games closer to their homes when feasible.

The first Black official in any major sport was Burl Toler, hired by the NFL in 1965.