History will be made next Monday night when the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet. For the first time, an all-Black officiating crew is set to work an NFL game. Referee Jerome Boger, in his 17th season officiating, will be leading the crew and he will be joined by umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed.
Troy Vincent, NFL's executive vice president of football operations, explained the significance of this situation to ESPN.
"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," he said.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, officiating crews this NFL season have been assembled based on where referees live. The league, which organizes crews for games before the season starts, is doing this to makes travel easier on referees and to give them the option to drive to games if they do not feel safe getting on an airplane.
For the upcoming Monday Night Football game, two crew members, Johnson and Steed, were pulled from other previously organized crews. According to ESPN, four of the NFL's 17 crew chiefs are Black.