Monday, February 18, 2013

PIFL, NFL Officials Meet For 2013 Rules Clinic

The Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL), along with officials from the National Football League, converged on the Atlanta suburb of East Point, Ga. this weekend to kick off the upcoming season with the 2013 PIFL Rules Clinic. Representatives from the NFL included Director of Recruiting Ron Baynes; NFL officials Allen Baynes and Tom Symonette; and NFL officiating supervisor Johnny Grier, who was a pioneer in his field as the NFL's first African-American referee. Other members of the clinic's instructional team included PIFL Director of Officiating Dan Blum and Conference USA referee Ed Ardito. The instructional team and league officials reviewed mechanics, penalty enforcement and rules, timing, and other subjects, including an intensive video review and breakdown of plays from the 2012 PIFL season. Over 35 returning and first-time PIFL officials were in attendance.
The upcoming campaign marks the second season the NFL is using the PIFL as a training ground for prospective officials. Officiating supervisors from the NFL will grade PIFL officials' performance for each game of the 2013 season. The PIFL is the only pro football league in the country with an affiliation agreement with the NFL to cultivate and develop promising NFL officials.
"I thought it was as professionally done in a 10-hour timeframe as clinics in major college conferences," Blum said of the clinic. "The fact we looked at a lot of video is a positive thing; seeing it instead of just talking about it is much more meaningful and beneficial to our officials. I think we have a good group, and we will build on last year's experiences and only get better. The system in place proved itself to work last season."
"We feel privileged to be the only indoor football league to have an affiliation with the National Football League," said PIFL Compliance Director Jeff Gonos. "They are a tremendous group of officials with the vast majority having prior experience in indoor football. I am confident the PIFL will set the bar in terms of officiating in indoor football this upcoming season."
The PIFL kicks off its sophomore season in less than three weeks with seven teams in the league: the Alabama (Huntsville) Hammers; the Albany (GA) Panthers; the Columbus (GA) Lions; the Knoxville (TN) NightHawks; the Louisiana (Lake Charles) Swashbucklers; the Richmond (VA) Raiders; and the expansion Lehigh Valley (Bethlehem, PA) Steel Hawks.

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