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NFL, CFL announce joint officiating program

The NFL and CFL announced Friday the creation of a joint officiating development program.

In its statement, the NFL announced that beginning this summer, a group of officials will have the chance to work as part of CFL crews during preseason and regular-season games -- in June and July. Several CFL officials will also join the NFL's Official Development Program, adding to the pool of officiating candidates.

NFL senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino believes the partnership will strengthen the current cast of officials and cultivate more talent.

"Any time our newer officials can get more reps on the field, during practices or games, that will make them better officials," Blandino said in a statement. "The collaboration with the CFL will certainly benefit us as we prepare for the 2016 season and we look forward to welcoming our CFL officiating counterparts to our development program later this spring."

The league noted that the NFL refs participating in CFL games will serve as field and side judges, in order to minimize the impact of some of the rules differences between the two leagues.

The partnership is a significant step in the evolution of refereeing -- a part-time job that comes with loads of pressure and even greater criticism. Any added reps should only be considered a bonus for everyone involved.

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