Art McNally became the first on-field official to earn enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Baseball has 10 umpires in its Hall of Fame and the NBA and NHL each have 16.
McNally, 97, was elected in the contributor category in the Class of 2022.
“For the number of people throughout the country, the millions of our fans whose passion and love of the game has made it so great, I’m extremely fortunate to have been in this position,” McNally said in a pre-taped video. “I’d like to thank the Hall of Fame. This is the greatest thing, I think, for an official. Do your job. Hopefully nobody’s even going to know your around. Make the calls the proper way they should be with a heavy dose of common sense.”
McNally served as the director of officiating for the NFL from 1968-91 and is known as the “Father of Instant Replay.”
McNally served as an NFL official for nine years, including as a referee from 1960-67, before the league promoted him to supervisor of officials in 1968. Upon his appointment, he installed the
first formal program for training and evaluation of football officials in professional sports.
McNally eventually headed a department of five individuals who coordinated and directed a staff of 112 game officials. He was responsible for the scouting, screening, hiring and grading of the crews that worked each NFL game.
He is credited with bringing technology to NFL officiating and introducing the highest level
of training for officials. He introduced an instant replay system to the NFL in 1986. Every major pro sport now uses some form of replay in its game.