Rams-Buccaneers sees first-ever all-Black officiating crew
For the very first time in NFL history, an all-Black officiating crew was assigned to work a game, specifically the Monday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s the league’s nod to both previous and current Black officials who have imprinted the game in their respective ways.
“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,” per NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent (via ESPN).
— NFL (@NFL) November 24, 2020
This particular group of officials in Rams-Bucs has a heck of a resume combining for a total of 89 seasons and six Super Bowls worth of experience. The seven-man crew was led by Jerome Boger and alongside him was umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed.
“I am proud of my heritage and excited about my participation in this historic game,” Boger said. “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.”
Boger, Anderson, Mapp and Shaw have been regularly working together as the NFL tries to assemble officiating crews prior to the season to promote better communication and chemistry. On Monday, they had to pull in Johnson and Steed from their respective crews to help complete the all-Black line-up in Tampa Bay for Rams-Bucs.
Rams and Bucs fans might know that in 1965, the NFL hired Burl Toler who was the very first Black official in any major sports league. Currently, only four of the 17 total NFL referee/crew chiefs are Black – including Boger.