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NFL tells game officials not to use index cards to measure

December 21, 2017

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, file photo, referee Gene Steratore (114) carries a folded piece of paper used to determine a measurement next to Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52) during the second half of an NFL football game between the Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys in Oakland, Calif. The NFL on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, has told its officials not to use index cards or any other paper to aid in measurements. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has told its officials not to use index cards or any other paper to aid in measurements.

In Sunday night’s Cowboys-Raiders game, veteran referee Gene Steratore tried to slide what appeared to be an index card between the tip of the ball and the end of the chain while measuring for a first down. When the card didn’t slide through, Steratore signaled a first down for Dallas. He said he had decided it was a first down before the odd measurement.

NFL officiating chief Alberto Riveron on Thursday confirmed what Steratore said.

“Using a piece of paper, that’s very unusual,” Riveron said. “The last time I saw it done was four to five years ago. That is not the norm. Gene made the decision strictly on visual affirmation that the ball made the line to gain.

“I will advise them not to use it again,” added Riveron, who replaced Dean Blandino this season. “I have already done that.”

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