Art McNally, the first on-field National Football League official to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died on Sunday in Yardley, Pa. He was 97.
The death, at a hospice near his home, was confirmed by his son Thomas.
Mr. McNally was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, in Canton, Ohio, last year, along with, among others, the former Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Tony Boselli and the former coach and broadcaster Dick Vermeil. He joined the National Football League in 1959 as a field judge, positioned behind the defense, at a time when professional football was just beginning its ascent to the pinnacle of American sports.
Mr. McNally worked the gridiron as a referee, or crew chief, starting in 1960. At the time, the league consisted of only 13 teams (it had 12 until the addition of the expansion Dallas Cowboys that year); he remained in that role until 1967, the year of the first Super Bowl. (Mr….