Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

NFL Referee Ed Camp of Bergenfield Calls It Straight

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

NFL Referee Ed Camp of Bergenfield Calls It Straight

Article excerpt

There are two things still on Ed Camp's wish list to officiate. One won't surprise you. One will.

"I never did a TOC final," said Camp referring to New Jersey's Tournament of Champions in basketball. "That's one thing missing on my resume."

The other one is a Super Bowl, but that day will certainly come. Camp has been an alternate twice, including this past year and in 2008. The last game this season he wore the stripes was the Eagles-Falcons divisional round game.

The Bergenfield native is one of 21 full-time NFL officials. This means that in addition to his duties on Jerome Boger's crew as a down judge, he spends many hours a week watching film and doing evaluations on himself and his fellow officials.

Camp, 62, recognizes he is lucky, "I'm a 22-year overnight success," he jokes. But he also has put in long hours and serious frequent-flyer miles to get where he is today.

He knows the job has become increasingly more scrutinized. Camp said NFL officials are forbidden from social media during the season, but you can't help but be aware of it and he acknowledges that sometimes there's truth in it too.

The biggest thing that may surprise you about Camp and his fellow officials is ... guess what? They are human beings too. They understand they make mistakes and it bothers them. More than anything else, they want to get the call right and are doing everything they can to do so.

"I have never taken this lightly, we know it's important to the coaches and the players and it's important to me," said Camp. "I understand what I'm charged with, giving everyone a fair shot."

Camp is a 1973 St. Cecilia graduate, yes, the school that got Vince Lombardi his start and reared Bill Parcells and Mickey Corcoran (Camp tells a funny Parcells sideline story, but it's way too profane for publication). He played three sports and is quick to note he was Athlete of the Week in 1973 for baseball.

Then NV/Old Tappan coach Bill Medea gave Camp his first shot at officiating, doing a preseason scrimmage.

"I didn't know what I was doing," said Camp. "Of course, some people would claim I still don't know, but I worked the scrimmage and the bug bit me."

Camp got connected to Ed Strohmeyer, the area assigner, and lists multiple other people who helped him along the way. It took just three years before Camp was doing college football. He did plenty of basketball too. After a few years there, he applied to the National Football League.

They sent him to NFL Europe, which was the developmental league for players and officials. He would go over there twice during the season and stay for nine days, working games on two consecutive weekends.

He got the NFL call in 2000.

"My first game, they threw me right into it, it was Philadelphia and Dallas and a 3 p.m. start in Dallas," remembered Camp. "It was like 100 degrees. It was so hot during timeouts the two teams would move from the middle of the field to stand off to the side in the shade. …

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