The NFL just fired an official in the middle of the season for the first time
The down judge missed an obvious call earlier this month. He's worked two Eagles games. The Birds won both.
Days after he missed an obvious call in a Chargers-Browns game, NFL official Hugo Cruz is out of a job.
According to FootballZebras.com, Cruz's firing marks the first time in the modern era that an official has been fired in the middle of a season. A source told the site, which is dedicated to news and discussions about NFL officiating, that Cruz was struggling to maintain "a very high level of performance over a sustained period."
Cruz made a mistake in the Oct. 14 game in Cleveland when, working as a down judge, he missed a false start on the Chargers' Russell Okung.
The missed call came on a play that should have been called dead. Instead, quarterback Philip Rivers threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Tyrell Williams. The Chargers won, 38-14.
ESPN reports that the details around the NFL's decision — with the exception of the missed false-start call — are unclear.
FootballZebras said it's rare for officials to be fired, and in the last decade only two have been dismissed, one because of an off–field issue.
Cruz was an official since 2015, according to Pro Football Reference. He worked two Eagles games: last October's 49ers matchup as a down judge, and a December 2016 game vs. the Giants, as a head linesman. The Eagles won both.