Next week’s Monday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be a historic one.
For the first time in league history, there will be an all-Black officiating crew handling the game.
“This historic Week 11 crew is a testament to the countless 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,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said, per ESPN.
Jerome Boger, in his 17th season as an official, will be the crew chief, which also includes umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Dale Shaw, field judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed.
Normally, the NFL assembles 17 officiating crews prior to the season and keeps them together. This year, crews were organized by geography to allow official to drive instead of fly to games.
Johnson and Steed, who live in Louisiana and Washington, D.C., respectively, were pulled from their crews to work this game.
There is some added significance with the teams involved, too.
The Bucs are the first team in NFL history to have three Black coordinators -- Byron Leftwich, Todd Bowles and Keith Armstrong – and two female assistant coaches – Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar.
The Rams, on the other hand, were the first NFL team to reintegrate in 1946 following a 12-year color ban.