Jerry Markbreit was an NFL official for 33 years, the referee in eight conference championships and four Super Bowls.
This week, the league essentially showed him the door.
Markbreit, along with eight other former prominent game officials, were apparently fired for refusing to train replacements to take the jobs of locked-out officials. The replacements, many of them high school and junior college officials, met Friday for training in Dallas.
“The NFL never actually told us in writing we were fired,” said Markbreit, 77, who retired in 1999 as a game official and has spent the past decade as an officiating trainer. “However, they took our computers back, and they shut off the NFL website as they did to all of the officials. We feel that we’re fired. They haven’t formally notified us, but it sure feels like we’re fired.”
A league spokesman declined to comment on replacements early Friday and did not immediately respond to an email inquiring about the fate of the trainers.