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The NFL Assembles All Black Officiating Crew For Rams-Buccaneers Game

On Monday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Los Angeles Rams, there will be history taking place around the game. The NFL will have an all-Black officiating crew for the first time in league history. The NFL claims this is an opportunity to recognize the league's history and recent practices in diversifying its officiating department.

Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations says: “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,”

Like most major sports leagues, the NFL has been taking precautions to ensure the safety of its staff and teams. According to USA Today, the league has assigned crews based on geography this season to limit travel. Crew assignment guidelines have also been relaxed to assign officials to games closer to their homes when feasible.

When the NFL hired Burl Toler in 1965, he became the first black official in any major sports league.

This historic crew will be led by Jerome Boger, he was a quarterback for Morehouse College and refereed Super Bowl XLVI. Boger is a 17-year veteran.

Other members 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.

The teams involved in the game are rich with Black history as well. The Rams were the first NFL team to reintegrate in 1946 after a 12-year color ban, when they signed Kenny Washington and receiver Woodie Strode. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the first team in league history with three Black coordinators.

While the game is taking place on the field, many will be looking out into the sidelines to see the first all black officiating crew at work. A rare and historic moment in the over 100-year history of the NFL.

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