Art McNally
Personal information
Born:(1925-07-01)July 1, 1925
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died:January 1, 2023(2023-01-01) (aged 97)
Yardley, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Career information
High school:Roman Catholic
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Career history
As an administrator:

Arthur Ignatius McNally (July 1, 1925 – January 1, 2023) was an American football executive who was director of officiating for the National Football League (NFL)[1] from 1968 to 1991. Before becoming director of officiating—succeeding Mark Duncan, who had held the position from 1964 to 1968—McNally served as a field judge and referee in the NFL for nine years from 1959 to 1967. During a 22-year span, he officiated over 3,000 football, baseball, and basketball games, which included one year in the National Basketball Association (NBA).[2] In 2022, McNally became the first NFL game official to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[3]


McNally was a native of Philadelphia born on July 1, 1925.[4] He graduated from Roman Catholic High School in 1943, served in the Marines during World War II,[5] before graduating from Temple University in Philadelphia.[6] He was a teacher and coach in the Philadelphia school district at Central High School[7] until his appointment as the NFL's supervisor of officials before the 1968 season.[6] He refereed for a season in the National Basketball Association as reported by Sunday Today with Willie Geist.

As NFL director of officiating, McNally headed a department of five men who coordinated and directed a staff of 112 game officials. He was responsible for the scouting, screening, hiring, and grading of the seven-man crews that work each NFL game. McNally was instrumental in using game footage for the evaluation of game officials.[8]

McNally was succeeded by Jerry Seeman after the 1990 season. After retiring as director of officiating, McNally accepted the position as Supervisor of Officials for the World League of American Football in December 1991, a position he held for five years. McNally continued to serve as a league consultant and game observer thereafter.[6]

McNally returned to the NFL front office in 1996 to work as an assistant supervisor of officials, a position he served in until 2008, before transitioning to an observer role for eight seasons. McNally officially retired following the 2015 season.[6]

Personal life and death

McNally was married to his first wife, Rita, until her death in 1981.[9] He married his second wife, Sharon, in 1986.[10][9] He had four children - Zach, Jonah, Brayden, and Jake.[9]

After the death of Charley Trippi in October 2022, McNally was the oldest living member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame until his own death.[11]

McNally died at a hospice facility in Yardley, Pennsylvania, on January 1, 2023, at the age of 97.[12][9]

Awards and honors

In August 2022, McNally became the first NFL official inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, after being voted in that January.[13] At 96, McNally was the oldest person to be inducted during his lifetime.[5]


  1. ^ Mihoces, Gary (December 18, 2012). "Forty years later, NFL official denies 'Immaculate Reception' conspiracy". USA Today. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  2. ^ "Art McNally". National Football League. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Austro, Ben (August 31, 2021). "Art McNally, father of modern NFL officiating, is the candidate to be the first official in the Pro Football Hall of Fame". Football Zebras. Retrieved February 14, 2022.
  4. ^ "Man of impeccable integrity, Art McNally: 1925-2023". Pro Football Hall of Fame. January 2, 2023.
  5. ^ a b Breen, Matt (February 24, 2022). "Philly's Art McNally was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The referee tells stories about the enshrined". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d "Art McNally Selected as Contributor Finalist for Class of 2022". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  7. ^ Murphy, Brian (January 7, 2023). "Art McNally, NFL's 'father of instant replay,' dies at 97". Washington Post. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  8. ^ Austro, Ben; Schultz, Mark (February 3, 2018). "Why Art McNally is long overdue to be the first official in the Pro Football Hall of Fame". Football Zebras. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d Williams, Alex (January 6, 2023). "Art McNally, N.F.L.'s 'Father of Instant Replay,' Dies at 97". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  10. ^ English, Chris (July 21, 2022). "Lower Makefield's McNally a Pro Football Hall of Famer". The Bucks County Herald. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  11. ^ Gordon, Grant. "Cardinals great Charley Trippi, who was the NFL's oldest living Pro Football Hall of Famer, dies at 100". NFL Enterprises LLC. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  12. ^ a b Gordon, Grant (January 2, 2023). "Art McNally, first NFL official enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame, dies at age 97". NFL. Retrieved January 2, 2023.
  13. ^ Seifert, Kevin (June 17, 2022). "'He was a trendsetter': Why Art McNally will be the first official enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame". ESPN, Inc. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  14. ^ Toussaint, Jensen (January 3, 2023). "Art McNally, the pioneering referee who introduced instant replay to the NFL, dies at 97". Al Día.
  15. ^ a b c d "Arthur I. "Art" McNally". Bucks County Courier Times. January 4, 2023.
  16. ^ Zucker, Joseph (December 19, 2019). "Pro Football Hall of Fame Reveals Full List of 2020 Centennial Slate Finalists". Bleacher Report.