Posted September 25, 2012

Meet replacement refs behind Packers-Seahawks controversy

Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks

Wayne Elliott talks with Richard Simmons during the Packers-Seahawks game Monday night. (Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE)

The NFL has not released any background information for its replacement officials, other than to confirm that they have called football games at some level. But given Monday’s controversial finish in Seattle, more and more people are growing curious as to where the NFL found its temporary fill-in officials.

The following info on the Monday night crew has been cobbled together from various sources …

Wayne Elliott, head referee: Elliott is the executive secretary for the Austin Football Officials Association, which oversees high school football officiating in the Austin, Texas area. In addition, a realtor, who describes his background as: “I also officiate collegiate, high school, and indoor professional football.”

Elliott’s crew worked the Redskins-Rams game in Week 3, which involved several post-whistle scuffles.

Derrick Rhone-Dunn, back judge: Rhone-Dunn was the official Monday who raced in after the M.D. Jennings-Golden Tate Hail Mary play and signaled for the clock to stop — usually the first move made before ruling a play like the one in question an interception and a touchback.

Rhone-Dunn has experience in the Arena Football League, as well as in the Big 12. He’s listed as one of the officials for the Jan. 3, 2007 Sugar Bowl between LSU and Notre Dame.

Lance Easley, side judge: It was Easley who gave the touchdown signal on Monday’s final play, and his call stood through the immediate chaos after, as well as following a replay review. According to the Santa Maria Times, Easley normally officiates “high school and (junior college) games” (both football and basketball) in California’s Central Coast area.

Tom Keeling, line judge: Keeling has extensive officiating experience within the Big 12 conference, and he officiated the Dec. 19, 2006 Poinsettia Bowl between TCU and Northern Illinois. (It’s likely that Keeling officiated other bowl games along the way — he’s found listed as a game official for Big 12 games dating back at least a decade.) A Tom Keeling also served as head linesman for the 2010 UFL championship game. Again, without the NFL providing background info, we can only assume that’s the same Tom Keeling that called Monday’s game.

Marc Harrod, umpire: Harrod is a police officer in Corpus Christi, Texas, and appears to run the Twitter feed for the Corpus Christi Chapter of Football Officials, an organization that “provides football officials for High School and Junior High programs.”

Mike Peek, head linesman: Peek also served as a replacement official during the brief 2001 NFL referee lockout, according to the website FootballZebras.com.

Richard Simmons, field judge: Chiefs website BobGretz.com reported that Simmons is a Texas high school official, a background that seems to be shared by many on Monday’s crew.

4 comments
BillToti
BillToti

This proves that the team owners greed is what drives them. There is no legitimate concern for the players health, the reputation of the league or their claims to want to "get the call right". No hiding the truth now fellas! 

MarkLDishon
MarkLDishon

I do not see the need to post their biographies. No matter how bad they called the game, it's not really their fault; they NEVER were qualified to call an NFL game and they are not paying themselves. The fact the strike is still on illustrates even further the animosity that must be propping up and fueling the strike. Feeding the biographies to the rabid public only makes them personal scapegoats and possibly endangers them (and their families and livelihoods. I'm not naive enough to say "its just a game"; the gambling aspect is enough to cancel that thought, but think of it this way. If the replacements were NOT there, we would not be watching ANY NFL.

Chitown
Chitown

After further review NFL Guy you are correct!!!

The_NFL_Guy
The_NFL_Guy

• Lance Easley, side judge: It was Easley who gave the touchdown signal on Monday’s final play, and his call stood through the immediate chaos after, as well as following a replay review. According to the Santa Maria Times, Easley normally officiates “high school and (junior college) games” (both football and basketball) in California’s Central Coast area.

 

Does it shock anyone that the guy who blew the most calls (pass interference TWICE on the final drive, called the catch a TD) is usually a high school and JUNIOR COLLEGE official?!?  There is no chance this man is qualified to call an NFL game.  I am shocked his bio didn't include "Sells shoes at Foot Locker in Santa Maria, CA" ... he should be fired today.