An all-Black officiating crew will work an NFL game for the first time Monday night in Tampa, according to a report from Jarrett Bell in USA TODAY published Tuesday.
The move will allow the league to make a social statement in addition to serving up a premier matchup when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Los Angeles Rams, Bell wrote.
Jerome Boger, a former Morehouse College quarterback who refereed Super Bowl XLVII, will lead the seven-man crew as referee. His partners will include umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, field judge Dale Shaw, side judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed.
“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,” Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement provided to USA TODAY.
Bell noted the milestone game involves the Bucs and the Rams — teams with notable records of inclusion.
Tampa Bay is the first team in league history with three Black coordinators: Todd Bowles (defense), Byron Leftwich (offense) and Keith Armstrong (special teams). They also employ two female assistant coaches: Lori Locust (assistant defensive line) and Maral Javadifar (assistant strength and conditioning).
The Rams were the first NFL team to reintegrate, in 1946 after a 12-year color ban, signing running back Kenny Washington and receiver Woodie Strode. That same year, the Cleveland Browns, then in the All-America Football Conference, signed fullback Marion Motley and guard Bill Willis, both now members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.