CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Art McNally, the man known as “The Father of Modern Officiating” has been picked as a contributor finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2022.

A panel of Hall of Fame selectors met virtually to select the contributor finalist for the upcoming class with the decision announced Tuesday. If elected by the full selection committee in early 2022, McNally would be the first on-field official ever inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I’m kind of knocked over. It’s a shocker,” McNally said when David Baker, the Hall of Fame president informed him of the news.

McNally, 96, started in the NFL as a field judge in 1959 before becoming a referee in 1960 through 1967.

He became the NFL's supervisor of officials in 1968, and he started the first program to train and evaluate football officials in pro sports. McNally wound up overseeing a department of five people directing 112 game officials and in charge of scouting, screening, hiring and grading crews working each NFL game.

McNally brought instant replay to the NFL in 1986 and is the man credited for bringing technology to officiating in the league.

He retired from the NFL in 1991 and was a consultant to the league through 1994. He became supervisor of officials for the World League of American Football in 1992. McNally returned to the NFL in 1995 as assistant supervisor of officials and stayed in that job through 2007. He kept working with officials as an observer for NFL games through 2015.

The Art McNally Award created by then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue in 2002 honors an NFL game official each year. McNally received the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s “Ralph Hay Pioneer Award” in 2012.


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