32 of 35 USFL Officials in NFL Development Pipeline,
Ready to Officiate Football at the Highest Level
All-Inclusive Official Crews Boast Strong College Experience
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 15, 2022 – When the new United States Football League (USFL) kicks off its inaugural season on April 16, it will feature 35 experienced, talented, and diverse game officials. Most (32) USFL officials are currently in the National Football League’s (NFL) Officiating Development Program (ODP) that provides opportunities for college-level officials who are ready to advance to professional football.
The USFL will have five crews of seven officials (referee, umpire, down judge, line judge, field judge, side judge, back judge), with two crews each working two games on any given weekend. Strong backgrounds in College Football are represented as 33 of the 35 USFL officials have worked in Power Five Conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12, and SEC). The all-inclusive USFL officials’ roster is also noteworthy, including 16 people of color and four women.
“The USFL will have the best officials not currently in the NFL,” said Mike Pereira, USFL Head of Officiating. “Our association with the NFL Officiating Department clearly serves the USFL by supplying officials who are ready to call games at the highest level, and it also benefits the NFL by providing professional game experience for those who are just a step away from working Sundays in the fall. In fact, I expect several officials calling USFL games this spring to officiate in the NFL later this year.”
NFL ODP participants study position-specific film with veteran NFL officials and current officiating instructors, review NFL mechanics, and analyze the differences in rules between NFL and NCAA. In addition, ODP officials attend the NFL’s annual preseason officiating clinic, participate in NFL mini-camps and training camps, officiate in an NFL preseason game, and work an NCAA post-season all-star game (Reese’s Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Bowl, HBCU Legacy Bowl, or NFLPA Game).
“We are excited about the opportunity the USFL provides potential NFL officials in our development pipeline,” said Walt Anderson, NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating. “Similar to what we had in NFL Europe for many years, our association with the USFL allows us to observe college officials in an environment that uses NFL-related rules and mechanics. This process is invaluable as we improve the development and promotion of professional football officiating.”
Anderson and his staff of NFL officiating instructors will hold a 3-day clinic (April 6-8) in Birmingham for the following 2022 season USFL officials:
The United States Football League (USFL) is a new, independent football league that is not affiliated with the defunct 1980s league or its owners. The inaugural USFL season will kick off April 16 with eight teams split into two divisions: the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits in the South Division; and the Michigan Panthers, Pittsburgh Maulers, New Jersey Generals, and Philadelphia Stars in the North Division. Each team will play a 10-game regular-season, followed by semifinals on June 25 between the top two teams in each division and a championship game on July 3 between division winners. The USFL completed its inaugural Draft on March 10 and players will report to training camps on March 22. At the conclusion of training camps, each USFL team will carry a 38-man active roster plus a seven-man practice squad. Players will receive base compensation and are eligible for victory bonuses. NBC Sports and FOX Sports are the League’s official media partners and will broadcast all 43 regular- and postseason games on FOX, FS1, NBC, USA, or Peacock networks. Brian Woods is President of Football Operations, and former Dallas Cowboys standout and long-time NFL on FOX game analyst Daryl Johnston is Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Former NFL Vice President of Officiating and FOX Sports’ NFL and college football rules analyst Mike Pereira is Head of Officiating, and FOX Sports’ Edward Hartman is Executive Vice President of Business Operations. For more information, visit theUSFL.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.