Northrop grad, Bolinger gets call-up as NFL referee

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – He made the right call. Even if others disagree.

Former Northrop football player Brian Bolinger will make his debut as an NFL referee this fall after getting called up from the college ranks.

His journey to this point began after high school and college. He wanted to stay involved in the game. Once again, he made the right call.

“I didn’t know what else to do other than call the National Football League office. That’s the only thing I thought of,” Bolinger said of his research into how to become a referee in the early 1990’s. “It sounds crazy now but I had no motive of making it the NFL at that time, I just wanted to know how to get started.”

Fortunately whoever answered the phone pointed him in the right direction. Bolinger had passion but he had about as much experience with officiating as the players he was reffing in his very first game.

He worked his way up through Pee Wee football, to high school, to low level college and finally the Big Ten Conference for the last four years.