Reports: NFL fires down judge Cruz
Cruz last worked a game in Week 6, and is no longer an employee of the league.
It was during Week 6 that Cruz made a major mistake. He failed to penalize the Los Angeles Chargers on an obvious false start by Chargers left tackle Russell Okung. The Chargers scored on the play against the Cleveland Browns.
Cruz did not work the following week.
It is presumed Cruz’s mistake in the Chargers-Browns game is the chief reason for his dismissal although no NFL official or representative of the NFL Referees Association has provided details of the exact reason for the firing.
According to FootballZebras.com, which first reported the news, this is the first time in the Super Bowl era that the NFL has fired an official during the season for performance reasons. That website reported Cruz had not maintained a high level of performance for a sustained period.
ESPN reported that there is no indication that an off-field incident or action led to his firing.
The league has suspended or re-assigned officials for mistakes of game administration in the past, but the NFL typically reviews officials’ performance on a yearly basis.
According to ESPN, an official is often dismissed if he receives low grades in consecutive seasons.