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American Football League Officials

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Title: American Football League Officials  
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Subject: American Football League, Official (American football), Ben Dreith, List of National Football League officials, Art Demmas, Al Conway, List of Super Bowl officials, George Young (American football)
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American Football League Officials


Just as it did in many other innovative ways, the American Football League (AFL, 1960–1969) had a unique take on the uniforms of referees, umpires, line judges, field judges and back judges. With their red-orange stripes, black collars and cuffs, and AFL logos on their shirt fronts, sleeves and caps, they were not only more colorful, but easier to see than those of the other league. They were especially unique when seen on color television, which was also on the rise in the 1960s. Both the National Football League and All-America Football Conference had used colored uniforms in the 1940s.

In his book COLORS, Jim Finks Jr., son of Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Jim Finks, Sr., shows the original uniform of AFL official Jack Reader, who was a back judge in the first AFL game in 1960 and in both the first and third AFL-NFL World Championship games. Reader was in an iconic January 20, 1969 Sports Illustrated photo, signaling a touchdown after Matt Snell's 4-yard plunge against the Colts.

The following list indicates men who were American Football League on-field officials: an important but seldom-credited part of the game. Nine, as shown in the list below, officiated in the American Football League for the entire ten years of its existence, 1960 through 1969. They were: Ben Dreith (FJ, R); Bob Finley (U, R); Hugh Gamber (BJ, FJ); Elvin Hutchison (HL); John McDonough (R); Walt Parker (U); Jack Reader (BJ, R); Al Sabato (HL) and George Young (U).

There were 34 on-field officials in the AFL in 1969, that seminal league's last year of play. 32 of them, from a league that the NFL ridiculed as "inferior", were good enough to continue to officiate after the merger. One of them was Cal Lepore, now known as "the father of instant replay". He also promulgated the use of replay to review the accuracy of on-field calls, for the evaluation of officials. Another important link from the American Football League to today's professional football.

See also

External links

  • AFL officials' uniforms
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