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Alberto Riveron named NFL senior VP of officiating

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The NFL has a new team atop their officiating department.

Alberto Riveron was named the senior vice president of officiating, the league announced Wednesday morning, filling the role vacated by former officiating head Dean Blandino.

Russell Yurk, an NFL replay veteran of seven years and a former NCAA and high school referee, has been named the vice president of replay and administration while Wayne Mackie, an NFL official with a decade of experience, was brought on as the vice president of officiating evaluation and development -- a department in charge of week to week grading of referees as well as managing the league's developmental pipeline for officials.

"Al has done a terrific job as a key member of our officiating staff for the past four seasons," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Prior to that, Al was an outstanding on-field official who earned the respect of his fellow officials, as well as coaches and players alike. To have Al leading our officiating department, and then to add talented, knowledgeable instant replay and officiating experts like Russell and Wayne, is a tremendous positive for us as we look forward to the 2017 season."

The search for Blandino's replacement began in earnest on April 14, the day NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala broke the story of Blandino's move into television.

Blandino had been with the league since 1994, helping usher in an instant replay era that changed the way games were called and viewed.

Riveron, the NFL's first Hispanic referee, has been calling games at the highest level since 2004. He was elevated to referee in 2008. His unit will have its work cut out for it. Back in March at the Annual League Meeting, owners voted to implement a fully centralized replay system, giving the head of officiating authority over all review situations.

That responsibility will now fall to Yurk who, according to the NFL's release, "will direct the league's instant replay operations in the Art McNally GameDay Central room and oversee all instant replay-related personnel."

In a nod to how frantic Blandino's former job was, the NFL essentially split the responsibility into three slices. The move should satisfy those who thought the former officiating head was stretched too thin, as well as officials at the ground level who wanted to see more personnel with in-game officiating experience in the highest rungs of the department.

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