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Who is Art McNally? NFL Hall of Famer passes away at 97

Art McNally, NFL Hall of Famer, has passed away. The former NFL referee was 97 years old. He is currently the only official to have been inducted to the Hall of Fame.

According to TMZ Sports, Art’s son Tom McNally shared the news that his father had passed away today due to natural causes.

Art McNally, a former NFL referee and the first official to ever be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has died at 97. tmz.com/2023/01/02/art…

Art McNally, a former NFL referee and the first official to ever be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has died at 97. tmz.com/2023/01/02/art…

McNally was born in Pennsylvania. He worked as a field judge and referee in the NFL for nine seasons beginning in 1959. In 1968, McNally received a promotion. He became the NFL’s director of officiating that year.

He would hold that role until 1990, when he stepped away from football. He would eventually return to the NFL in 1996, when he joined as an assistant supervisor of officials, a role he would hold until 2007.

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In 2008, the legendary referee moved into a role in which he observed and trained officials after spending over a decade as an assistant supervisor.

Art McNally wasn’t enshrined until 2022, when he finally entered the Hall of Fame. He was inducted during the summer.


Roger Goodell mourns the loss of Art McNally

Roger Goodell, who has been the NFL commissioner since a year before Art McNally stepped down as assistant supervisor, mourned the icon and his former colleague on Monday:

“Art McNally was an extraordinary man, the epitome of integrity and class. Throughout his distinguished officiating career, he earned the eternal respect of the entire football community. Fittingly, he was the first game official enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. But more importantly, he was a Hall of Fame person in absolutely every way.”

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Goodell added that his thoughts and prayers were with the McNally family, which includes his wife, his three children and many grandchildren.

Roger Goodell and McNally helped oversee officials
Roger Goodell and McNally helped oversee officials

It is very likely that the next week of NFL games, which is the final week of the regular season, features many tributes to the late McNally and his family as the entire NFL world lost a very big figure on Monday.

Edited by Zachary Roberts
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