A true “American Dream” success story continued on Wednesday when the NFL promoted Alberto “Al” Riveron to it’s top spot as NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating. Riveron replaces the controversial Dean Blandino, who is headed to a Network TV job as an officiating analyst this fall.
The re-structuring of the NFL’s officiating was announced officially here:
NFL Announces New Officiating Leadership Team https://t.co/AP037sNikm
— NFL345 (@NFL345) May 10, 2017
Riveron’s ties to Florida, and a great success story, come from his mother Irene Valdes bringing Al and family from Cuba to Miami on a U.S. sanctioned “Freedom Trip” in 1966. Valdes worked in a shoe factory and then later a dress factory to support them. Al began refereeing in youth and high school games in Miami/South Florida in the late 1970’s and 80’s. He later became a referee in both Conference USA and the Big East before getting the promotion to the NFL.
That came in 2004 when he began as a side judge on a weekly officiating crew and then later became the first Hispanic to become an NFL lead referee in 2008. He spent five seasons in that role culminating with working the AFC Championship game between the Patriots and the Ravens in January 2013.
Later that off season, Riveron was offered by the NFL a new front office position of Senior Director of Officiating and began working closely with Blandino on evaluating crews week to week. And as the NFL has gone to centralizing their instant replay in a “command center” in New York over the past few seasons, Riveron has been part of that weekly, as well.
Now, he will replace Blandino, as the “face” of NFL officiating, particularly, when there are controversial calls (and you know there will be lots). You will see him on social media and the NFL Network attempting to explain and defend what has gone into the rulings.