NFL tells game officials not to use index cards to measure

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, SEPT. 8-9 FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2012, file photo, officials measure for a Cincinnati Bengals first down DURING the second quarter an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, in Foxborough, Mass. The first-down line that has become a staple of all NFL broadcasts should become a fixture for fans at the stadium. Chain gangs might disappear, as well, if measurements can accurately be determined through high-tech gadgets. Lasers or computer chips could "extend 100 feet up" NFL senior executive vice president Ray Anderson said, to determine if a kick goes through the uprights. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, 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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