Art McNally
Personal information
Born:(1925-07-01)July 1, 1925
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:January 1, 2023(2023-01-01) (aged 97)
Newtown, Pennsylvania
Career information
High school:Roman Catholic High School
College:Temple University
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, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Roman Catholic High School before graduating from Temple University in Philadelphia.[4] McNally was a teacher and coach in the Philadelphia school district at Central High School until his appointment as the NFL's supervisor of officials before the 1968 season. He was a veteran of World War II, serving in the Marines.[4]

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.[5]

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.[4]

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.[4]

Personal life and death

McNally was married to his first wife, Rita, until her death in 1980. He was later married to Sharon.[6]

Following the death of Charley Trippi in October 2022, McNally became the oldest living member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, until his own death.[7]

McNally died on January 1, 2023, at the age of 97.[8]

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.[9]


  1. ^ Mihoces, Gary (2012-12-18). "Forty years later, NFL official denies 'Immaculate Reception' conspiracy". USA Today. Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  2. ^ "Art McNally". National Football League. Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  3. ^ a b Austro, Ben (2021-08-31). "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 2022-02-14.
  4. ^ a b c d "Art McNally Selected as Contributor Finalist for Class of 2022". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  5. ^ Austro, Ben; Schultz, Mark (2018-02-03). "Why Art McNally is long overdue to be the first official in the Pro Football Hall of Fame". Football Zebras. Retrieved 2021-09-04.
  6. ^ English, Chris. "Lower Makefield's McNally a Pro Football Hall of Famer". The Bucks County Herald. Retrieved 2 November 2022.
  7. ^ 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 2 November 2022.
  8. ^ Gordon, Grant (2 January 2023). "Art McNally, first NFL official enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame, dies at age 97". NFL. Retrieved 2 January 2023.
  9. ^ Seifert, Kevin. "'He was a trendsetter': Why Art McNally will be the first official enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame". ESPN, Inc. Retrieved 4 November 2022.