Touchdown for NFL with all-black officiating crew

Sports | ASSOCIATED PRESS 25 Nov 2020

An all-black officiating crew worked an NFL game for the first time in league history when the Los Angeles Rams faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Referee Jerome Boger led the crew, which had umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed.

When the NFL announced the crew was being assembled last week executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent hailed the move as "a testament to the countless and immeasurable contributions of black officials to the game.''

Five members of the crew had worked together regularly, then Johnson and Steed joined the group for the game between playoff contenders. The crew members have a combined 89 seasons of NFL experience and have worked six Super Bowls.

Bucs' coach Bruce Arians, who's been supportive of diversity in hiring throughout the league, applauded. "Way too long coming," he said. "I know a lot of those guys. They're great officials."

The first black official in any major sport was Burl Toler, hired by the NFL in 1965.

Jared Goff threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns and Matt Gay kicked a 40-yard field goal with two minutes 36 seconds left to give the visiting Rams a 27-24 victory over the Bucs.

Goff completed 39 of 51 passes, including short scoring throws to Robert Woods, Van Jefferson and Cam Akers.

The Rams' defense pressured Tom Brady all night and sealed the win with rookie safety Jordan Fuller's second interception of the six-time Super Bowl champion.

Brady was 26 of 48 for 216 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams sacked him once after getting to Russell Wilson six times in the previous week's 23-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

"I have to do a better job," Brady said.

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