Johnny Grier, the NFL's first Black referee, dies at 74

Mar 9, 2022

Johnny Grier, the first Black person to lead an NFL officiating crew, died on Tuesday. He was 74.

A North Carolina native and University of D.C. graduate, Grier got his start as a high school referee in 1965 and in college football in 1972, according to Football Zebras. He joined the NFL as a field judge in 1981 and worked Super Bowl XXII before getting promoted to referee in 1988, the first African-American man to hold the position in the NFL.

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)