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1989 NFL Season
70th season in the history of the National Football League
Fred Silva retired during the 1989 off-season. He joined the NFL in 1968 as a line judge before being promoted to referee in 1969. Games that he officiated include Super Bowl XIV and the Freezer Bowl.
Dale Hamer, the head linesman for Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XXII, and Howard Roe were promoted to referee. In addition to replacing Silva, an extra 16th officiating crew was added to help handle the weekly workload of 14 games.
Walt Coleman was hired as a line judge. He was promoted to referee in 1995 and was a crew chief through 2018.
Major rule changes
After a foul that occurs inside the last two minutes of the first half and inside the last five minutes of the second half or overtime, the game clock will start at the snap, instead of when the ball is spotted and the Referee signals it is ready to be played.
New rules were enacted, including loss of timeouts or five-yard penalties, to handle the problem of crowd noise when it becomes too loud for the offensive team to hear its signals.
If a receiver and a defender eventually establish joint control of a pass, the ball will be awarded to whoever was the first player to establish control of the ball.
While not a rule "change" per se, the "hurry up offense" was recognized as fully legal, and penalties for delay of game would be called against teams whose defenders faked injuries in order to slow down the tempo, unless those teams called for timeouts.
Los Angeles Raiders: Mike Shanahan was fired after the first four games. Assistant coach Art Shell served as interim for the last 12 games. Shell was given the position permanently and held it through 1994, then returned for one season in 2006.
The Kansas City Chiefs began wearing their white pants with their white jerseys, discontinuing their red pants. It was the first time the Chiefs wore white pants with their white jerseys since 1967. The red pants returned in 2000.
The Miami Dolphins introduced aqua pants to be worn with their white jerseys. They were not worn again in 1989 after a 39-7 loss at Houston in week four, but returned full-time in 1990.