NEW YORK (CBSLA.com/AP) — The NFL has hired 12 new officials for the 2014 season and promoted two veterans to referee.
Ronald Torbert and Craig Wrolstad were promoted to referee, replacing the retired Scott Green and Ron Winter, the league announced Thursday. Wrolstad has spent the past 11 seasons as a field judge. Torbert has worked the past four seasons as a side judge.
Among the dozen new officials is side judge Shawn Hochuli, the son of always-recognizable referee Ed Hochuli, and field judge Brad Freeman, the son of back judge Steve Freeman, a former player with Buffalo.
Ed Hochuli may be best known for a controversial call in a 2008 game between the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos, in which Hochuli blew his whistle after a fumble by then-Denver quarterback Jay Cutler, killing the play.
The ball was recovered by San Diego, but since Hochuli blew the play dead, Denver retained possession, and would score to win the game.
The controversy led, in part, to the installation of the “Hochuli Rule”.
Two women, line judge Sarah Thomas and head linesman Maia Chaka, will work minicamps and preseason games this year. They are in the officiating development program and officiated in Conference USA in 2013.
“The NFL is about constantly striving to improve performance, and that is certainly the case for our game officials,” said Dean Blandino, the league’s director of officiating. “Both Ron and Craig have proven to be outstanding NFL officials and they are ready to assume the increased responsibilities of the referee position. Our 12 first-year officials were all among the best in college football.”
The other 10 first-year officials are umpires Brad Allen and Bryan Neale; head linesman Patrick Turner; field judges Eugene Hall and John Jenkins; side judges Alex Kemp and Scott Novak; line judge Ed Walker; and back judges Rich Martinez and Steve Patrick.
The most experienced officials are referees Walt Coleman, in his 26th season, and the senior Hochuli and Mike Carey, each in his 25th. In all, 119 officials will work in seven-man crews during the regular season.
Steve Freeman and Philip McKinnely, who was with the Falcons, Rams and Bears, are former players now officiating games.
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