A Tribute to Art McNally

Written by Posted On Friday, 24 September 2021 00:00

Art McNally, a longtime National Football League official, has been nominated for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022. This is the first time an NFL official’s nomination has been moved forward for final consideration — save for Shorty Ray, the NFL supervisor who was inducted in 1966 but was never an on-field NFL official. Ray helped organize NFL rules in the 1950s era. The Pro Football Hall of Fame has welcomed NFL players, coaches, and contributors for induction.

McNally has been a friend for 61 years. He was selected as an NFL official in 1959 and I was fortunate to follow in 1960. McNally was first assigned to be a field judge (now called back judge) and then promoted to the position of Referee — a position he held for eight years. Following that he was selected to be the supervisor of NFL officials (now called senior vice-president of officiating). In that role, he was my boss for 23 years from 1968 to 1990 — the year we both retired from the NFL.

McNally was an outstanding supervisor. His integrity and work ethic were second-to-none. Every official trusted his knowledge and interpretation of the rules. He led the Competition Committee, the body that creates rule changes, throughout more than two decades as the NFL game changed in the 1970s and 1980s. McNally instituted the NFL’s replay system. The NFL recognized his leadership in that role by establishing the Art McNally Command Center, which oversees the video replay of all NFL games. He recruited top-notch officials, many for the referee position, and led them in enforcing rule changes.

“I would play poker over the phone with Art McNally,” I have often said. He and I may have disagreed on a rule change a time or two, but I knew he was honest. He was a taskmaster when he needed to be and an understanding boss when necessary. He was there for all officials when needed. His leadership was important as the rules and mechanics (positioning on the field) adjusted to the changes in the game. He created professionalism among officials and helped owners, coaches and fans appreciate their role.

McNally created a solid reputation with the NCAA. In the early 1960s, the NCAA felt that the NFL was taking all their best officials. McNally broke that barrier by meeting with their officials and supervisors explaining NFL rules and interpretations thereby creating a partnership for consistency.

I was so pleased when CEO David Baker and the Pro Football Hall of Fame selected my friend Art McNally as a finalist for induction into the 2022 Class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will represent them well.

Will you log in your opinion about game officials being inducted into sports halls of fame?

Rate this item
(1 Vote)
Dr. Jim Tunney

Jim Tunney had an exemplary career in sports. A former high school coach, teacher, principal and district superintendent, he had a 40-year career in officiating football and basketball.

Thirty-one of those years he was an NFL Referee working a record twenty-nine post-season games including four Super Bowls, ten NFC/AFC Championship games, six Pro Bowls and twenty-five Monday Night Games.

He officiated some of the most memorable games in NFL history. His book Impartial Judgment: “The Dean of NFL Referees” Calls Pro Football As He Sees It, chronicles his NFL career.

As a Professional Speaker, he is Past President of The National Speakers Association and a Charter Member of its most prestigious group – The CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame. Jim holds every professional designation of the NSA, including the Oscar of Professional Speaking – The Cavett. NSA named him Philanthropist of the Year in 2007.

Dr. Tunney (a doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California) continues to serve his community as  Trustee Emeritus of both Monterey Peninsula College and York School; where he once served as Headmaster. In 1993, he founded the Jim Tunney Youth Foundation to support local community programs that develop leadership, work skills, wellness and self-esteem in youth. He and his wife Linda live in Pebble Beach, California. They have six children and sixteen grandchildren.

As an author he has written and/or co-authored thirteen books: Impartial Judgment, Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan’s Soul, Speaking Secrets of the Masters, You Can Do It!, Super Bowl Sunday, Insights into Excellence, Lessons in Leadership, Build a Better You and his most recent book, It’s the Will, Not the Skill.

If you are looking for a keynote speaker who educates, motivates and entertains with a lifetime of stories about leadership, team building and sports 831-595-3258.


Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.