Shannon and Connor O'Hara, the grandchildren of Art McNally's admire their grandfather's bust during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton on Saturday, August 6, 2022.

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Hall of Fame official Art McNally dies at 97

Art McNally, the first NFL game official enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died at age 97, the organization announced Monday.

Tom McNally, one of the retired official’s four children, said in a news release issued by the Hall of Fame that his father died Sunday of natural causes at a hospital in Newtown, Pa.

The elder McNally was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2022.

McNally began refereeing games among fellow service members when he served in the Marines during World War II, chosen by his peers because he was “the man with the most integrity to do the job,” the Hall of Fame’s news release said.

He joined the NFL’s officiating crew as a field judge in 1959, then served as a referee from 1960-67. He transitioned to the role as supervisor of officials, a job he held until his first retirement in 1991. He is credited with implementing systems to train and evaluate officials, among his achievements.

“Art McNally was a quiet, honest man of integrity,” said Jim Porter, president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “To see Art’s decades of service recognized with his enshrinement as part of the Class of 2022 was a special moment for the Hall. His legacy as a strong leader who helped usher in the advanced training of officials and the technology necessary to keep up with a faster and more complicated game will be preserved forever in Canton.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called him “a Hall of Fame person in absolutely every way.”

“Art McNally was an extraordinary man, the epitome of integrity and class,” Goodell said. “Throughout his distinguished officiating career, he earned the eternal respect of the entire football community.”

Post-1991, McNally served as supervisor of officials for the World League of American Football — the precursor to NFL Europe — and then returned to the NFL and worked as assistant supervisor of officiating from 1995-2007. He stayed on with the NFL until 2015 as an officiating observer and trainer.

The officiating command center at NFL headquarters is named “Art McNally GameDay Central.”

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd catches a touchdown pass in the second quarter.

Syndication The Enquirer

Report: Bengals-Raiders officiating crew done for playoffs

The officiating crew for Saturday’s Las Vegas Raiders-Cincinnati Bengals AFC wild-card game is not expected to work again this postseason, according to a report from ESPN that cited an unnamed league source.

The crew, led by referee Jerome Boger, fell under scrutiny for a few issues, most notably a whistle that was blown during a play that saw Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throw a touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd in the back of the end zone late in the second quarter.

The report indicated that the officials, an assembly of members from other regular-season crews, as is customary during the postseason, would not receive high grades for the game.

On the play, Burrow was scrambling and released the football just before he stepped out of bounds. Replay indicated that the whistle, which the officials called inadvertent, came while the ball was in the air and just before Boyd made the catch. The defender closest to Boyd appeared to ease up on the play just before the catch was made.

However, the officiating crew “determined that they had a whistle, but that the whistle for them on the field was blown after the receiver caught the ball,” according to Walt Anderson, the league’s senior vice president of officiating, who spoke to a pool reporter after the game.

The Bengals extended their lead to 20-6 with the score, and held on for a 26-19 win thanks to a goal-line interception of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in the closing seconds.

–Field Level Media

Aug 29, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; NFL umpire Clay Martin (19) walks on the field during the second quarter of the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Atlanta Falcons at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

NFL ref Martin hospitalized with COVID-19

NFL referee Clay Martin has been hospitalized with COVID-19, his family told the Tulsa World on Saturday.

Martin, 45, was originally pulled from officiating the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game on Dec. 21 and was reportedly asymptomatic. He has been in quarantine at his home near Tulsa, Okla., since.

“Our family is very appreciative of all the heartwarming messages that we’re receiving. Clay is receiving medical attention at St. Francis. Our family will continue to find peace in our faith, each other and many, many people who we are blessed to call friends,” Martin’s family said in a statement to the Tulsa World.

Adrian Hill will replace Martin on Sunday, the third game Martin has missed.

Martin has been an NFL official since 2015, serving the past three seasons as referee.

Martin is also a high school basketball coach in the Tulsa suburb of Jenks.

–Field Level Media