About Damn Time: NFL Makes History With All-Black Referee Crew During Monday Night Football

By Jay Connor, TheRoot.com

If you watched Monday Night Football last night, not only were you treated to Tom Brady catching a glorious L at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams but for the first time in the history of the NFL, we were treated to an all-Black officiating crew.

Lead by OG-triple-OG Jerome Boger, who’s got 17 years in the game, the rest of the crew was rounded out by umpire Barry Anderson, side judge Anthony Jeffries, line judge Carl Johnson, down judge Julian Mapp, field judge Dale Shaw and back judge Greg Steed.

NFL officials, from left, umpire Barry Anderson, field judge Anthony Jeffries, down judge Julian Mapp, referee Jerome Boger, back judge Greg Steed, side judge Dale Shaw (104), line judge Carl Johnson (101) pose for a photo before an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. The game is the first in NFL history to feature an all African-American officiating crew. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

It’s safe to assume our ancestors were proud.

NBC News reports that when the officiating crew was put together last week, Troy Vincent, the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations (who also just so happens to be Black), caught the Holy Ghost and called it “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.”

I don’t know about the hallmark, but let me mind my business. I will say that Vincent is at least partly correct, considering that out of 121 officials, the NFL currently has four Black referees and 40 Black game officials—which is a much higher dose of melanin than it has in its executive roles, coaching ranks, or other positions on prominence.

“I am proud of my heritage and excited about my participation in this historic game,” Boger said in a statement. “The opportunity to work with a great group of Black officials and exhibit our proficiency in executing our assignment is something I am really looking forward to.”

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