The NFL will field its first all-black referee crew to work Monday Night Football next week when the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.
“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, according to ESPN.
Referee Jerome Boger will head the crew, including umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries, and back judge Greg Steed.
Boger, who is beginning his 17th season as a ref, is one of four black crew chiefs but is the first to lead an all-black crew. The other black crew chiefs are Ron Torbert, Adrian Hill, and Shawn Smith.
The NFL made a change to its practices this season due to the coronavirus. Officiating crews were assembled based on their relative closeness geographically. As a result, Johnson and Steed were pulled in from other crews to join Boger’s group.
“The NFL hired Burl Toler, the first Black official in any major sports league, in 1965,” ESPN noted.
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