NFL Officials Come Back With Lacrosse Connection
The return of real NFL officials to the field Thursday night included a lacrosse connection.
Bob Waggoner, who wore No. 25 in stripes working as the field judge during the Baltimore Ravens-Cleveland Browns game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, is a former NCAA men's lacrosse official and current assignor for District 6, which includes schools like Notre Dame and Michigan.
In this ESPN article about the game, he's shown giving a thumbs-up signal to start play.
Waggoner has been an NFL official for 16 years, graduated from Juniata College and for his full-time job is a probation officer, according to the NFL Record and Fact Book. He was the back judge in Super Bowl XL in Detroit between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks in 2006.
Lacrosse Magazine profiled Waggoner in April 2006 after his Super Bowl appearance (PDF here).
Waggoner never played lacrosse, but became an official in the 1970s to meet a need in Ohio. During a timeout in Super Bowl XL, he said he "had a flashback to when I was refereeing in cornfields."
As NFL referee Gene Steratore told the Associated Press before Thursday's return, "You know we always pride ourselves in being a face without a name. This will be a little different."
It was, and it just so happened a lacrosse name was involved in the end of an embarrassing three weeks of NFL history.