When the former NFL commissioner and Hall of Famer PAUL TAGLIABUE visited ART McNALLY to inform him of his selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022, Art received the message he believed was delivered in the mail.
“He expected information to come from the postman. He made a habit of going to the front door and checking the mail mid-morning. When I got to tell him he was in the Hall of Fame, he said something like, ‘The postman has arrived,'” Tagliabue said during a chat on the ‘Eye Test for Two’ podcast.
Art served as an NFL official for nine years before becoming the NFL’s Officiating Supervisor in 1968. The first field official enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Art enters the Gold Jacket Spotlight this week.
Among Art’s ideas for the NFL were standards for scouting, selecting, hiring, and ranking NFL official teams. Additionally, Art is considered the “Father of Instant Replay”, introducing the initial system used in the NFL.
After retiring from his supervisory position in 1991, Art became the Officials Supervisor for the World League of American Football.
Art returned to the NFL office to work as an Assistant Supervisor of Officials until 2007 and continued as an NFL Official Observer until 2015.
Tagliabue described Art as “a person who had no ego, was a great leader and a person of integrity. He meant so much to the game, to the League and to the men who worked on the pitch. »
Echoing Art’s appreciation for his level of integrity, Jim Tunney, a retired NFL referee of 31 years, once said, “I would play poker on the phone with Art McNally. That’s how much I trust him. »
The impact of Art’s efforts and ideas to improve the game cannot be overstated.
“Art was one of the most prominent people who made the league a success,” Tagliabue said.
Dean Blandino, former NFL vice president of refereeing and current rules analyst for FOX Sports, added: “I don’t think anyone, anywhere has had a greater impact on how the game is played only Art McNally.”
When asked to recall Art’s most notable achievement, Tagliabue cited Art’s work on the NFL Competition Committee.
“It wasn’t a band of shrinking violets in the 70s and 80s,” Tagliabue said on the podcast. “It was Tex Schramm. It was Paul Brown. It was Don Shula. Very demanding and very analytical about the game.
“I used to go to these meetings…and I was amazed at what they got into. They could discuss for three or four hours, or a day, the difference between a 42 second clock and a 45 second clock and how the few seconds would make a big difference. But when they finished their analysis, they had a lot of confidence and conviction.
During his 2015 Hall of Fame induction speech, bill polian noted, “One of the greatest experiences I have had was serving 19 years on the NFL Competition Committee. The committee for that first year consisted of Paul Brown, Don Shula, George Young, Marty Schottenheimer, Tom Flores and the iconic Art McNally, and league office Don Weiss and Donna Montana. Football heaven.
Earlier this year, Polian commented that Art’s then-pending accolade “is really more about what he’s done for the refereeing profession in virtually every sport. He’s a monumental figure in refereeing. .
When Tagliabue knocked on Art’s door in Bucks County, Pennsylvania to announce the news of the Hall of Fame selection, he presented Art with a Pro Football Hall of Fame hat.
“I brought this hat with me because I figured that at some point an official had to have a hat,” Tagliabue remarked.
Indeed, the postman made the delivery that Art expected.