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An all-Black crew will officiate an NFL game for the first time ever

17-year veteran Jerome Boger is set to lead the crew of all-Black officials. The referee said he was excited to participate in this historic game.

An all-Black crew will officiate an NFL game for the first time ever
Image Source: Arizona Cardinals v Chicago Bears. CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 20. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

In a first for the National Football League, an all-Black officiating crew will feature in an upcoming game. The crew is set to officiate a game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams, scheduled to take place on November 23, CNN reports. Additionally, 17-year veteran Jerome Boger will lead the crew. This is a historic moment for the league as Black officials' contributions to the game are finally being recognized, not just on the field as players. Boger himself is only the third Black referee in the history of the league.


Troy Vincent, the executive vice president of Football Operations for the NFL, asserted in an official statement, "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." The league has come under immense criticism in the past, owing particularly to the outreach efforts of former NFL-er Colin Kaepernick. Though moments of token representation are common, especially in the arena of sports, some are hopeful that this perhaps is a turning point for the league.


Boger, who was promoted from line judge in 2006, is keen on leading the all-Black crew on November 23. "I am proud of my heritage and excited about my participation in this historic game," he affirmed 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." He will be joined by the following officials: Barry Anderson, umpire, 14-year NFL official; Anthony Jeffries, side judge, 3-year NFL official; Carl Johnson, line judge, 17-year NFL official, Julian Mapp, down judge, 12-year NFL official; Dale Shaw, field judge, 8-year NFL official; and Greg Steed, back judge, 18-year NFL official.


The referee frequently works with Anderson, Mapp, Shaw, and Jeffries as a part of his regular crew. Boger was the referee for Super Bowl XLVII, and Anderson, Johnson, and Steed were part of the Super Bowl LIV officiating crew. The latter crew included the most minority officials for a Super Bowl, as per official records from the NFL. While this is a major step forward for Black representation in the game of football, there is still a long way to go, especially in roles off the field.


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