IRVING, Texas (AP) - Brad Allen is one of 13 first-year NFL officials this season. Making his debut at football's highest level unique is also being one the league's three first-year referees.
''They're referring to me as a double rookie,'' Allen said Friday night at the NFL officiating clinic.
After being a referee in the Atlantic Coast Conference the past nine seasons, Allen will be the first official since Tommy Bell in 1962 to make his NFL debut as a referee leading his own crew.
''He's worked at the top college level, he's worked the biggest games, he's worked bowl games, he's worked championship games,'' said Dean Blandino, NFL vice president of officiating.
''And the difference between NFL officiating and college officiating, it's getting closer from a rules standpoint. ... And we've surrounded him with a veteran crew.''
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