Riveron in November 2008
|Occupation||NFL official (2004–2012)|
Riveron spent 15 years officiating games in Conference USA and the Big East. From the 2004 to the 2012 seasons, he served as an on-field official for the NFL, wearing uniform number 57. He first served as a side judge before being promoted to head referee (crew chief) in 2008 following the retirements of Gerald Austin and Larry Nemmers. Riveron was the first referee of Hispanic origin in NFL history.
On 19 February 2013, Riveron was promoted to the league's Senior Director of Officiating, a newly created position as a second-in-command under the league's former Vice President of Officiating, Dean Blandino. On 10 May 2017, he was named Senior Vice President of Officiating. Despite receiving considerable criticism from the media, the NFL announced that it would retain Riveron as its senior vice president of officiating for the 2018 season.
During the 2018 season, Riveron received harsh criticism from media outlets as well as NFL players, coaches, and former NFL employees for the manner in which NFL officials implemented penalties for roughing the passer, which had been deemed an area of emphasis the previous off-season. A penalty against Clay Matthews III during the second week of the season, which extended a game that would have likely resulted in a Green Bay victory, was cited by NFL rules analysts as the most egregious example of the penalty being assessed erroneously. The following week, another play in which defensive lineman William Hayes suffered a career-ending knee injury while trying to avoid contact with Derek Carr was criticized by Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase and media outlets because Hayes' injury occurred while attempting to obey a rule that was being improperly implemented. Critics of the new emphasis on the rule included former NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino as well as former NFL official and former Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira, who said of the incident involving Clay Matthews, "we're setting a dangerous precedent...You can’t have that as a foul." Riveron admitted in an interview that at least two of the roughing the passer penalties applied the first week of the season had been called incorrectly. In response, the NFL competition committee held an unscheduled, in-season emergency conference call after the third week of the season to discuss the implementation of the rule amid reports that committee members felt the penalty was not being assessed properly. After the conference call, the competition committee issued a rule clarification, which led to a dramatic reduction in roughing the passer penalties in the following weeks.
Leading up to the 2019 NFL season, Riveron was once again embroiled in controversy surrounding replay review for pass interference as well as implementation of the rule regarding blindside blocks.
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- Emma, Chris. NFL VP Of Officiating Alberto Riveron Stands By Ruling On Overturned Zach Miller Touchdown. CBS Chicago. 25 January 2017.
- Bell, Jarrett. Mike Pereira: What makes NFL director of officiating job so tough. USA Today. 25 January 2017.
- Schilken, Chuck. Roughing-the-passer calls are causing confusion, frustration among NFL players. Los Angeles Times. 25 September 2018.
- Jones, Jonathan. Are Roughing the Passer Penalties Decreasing? Tracking the Week 4 Quarterback Hits. Sports Illustrated. 30 September 2018.
- Boren, Cindy. ‘A dangerous precedent’: Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino hate the NFL’s roughing-the-passer calls. Washington Post. 18 September 2018.
- McDonald, Charles. Clay Matthews’ controversial roughing the passer call on Kirk Cousins has everyone confused. SB Nation. 17 September 2018.
- Selig, David. Dolphins' William Hayes a victim of 'stupid,' 'dumb,' 'nonsensical' rule, NFL Twitter says. South Florida Sun Sentinel. 25 September 2018.
- Wolfe, Cameron. William Hayes tears ACL after trying to avoid flag on sack. ESPN. 24 September 2018.
- Stites, Adam. The Dolphins say the NFL’s roughing the passer penalty is to blame for William Hayes’ ACL tear. SB Nation. 26 September 2018.
- NFL: Key penalty in Steelers-Browns called in error. Reuters. 10 September 2018.
- Pelissero, Tom. Officiating chief: Refs erred on call against Browns' Myles Garrett. NFL.com. 10 September 2018.
- Battista, Judy. Competition Committee uncomfortable with roughing calls. NFL.com. 25 September 2018.
- Gantt, Darin. Report: Competition committee wants roughing rule applied differently. NBC Sports. 25 September 2018.
- Seifert, Kevin. Inside the NFL's offensive landscape: Will last season's trends continue in 2019?. ESPN. 20 August 2019.
- Maske, Mark. The NFL is already considering tweaks to its replay-for-interference measure. Washington Post. 21 May 2019.
- Florio, Mike. Al Riveron declines to explain decision to uphold controversial OPI call. NBC Sports. 16 August 2019.
- Florio, Mike. “Blindside block” in Lions-Texans game creates confusion. NBC Sports. 18 August 2019.
- Sullivan, Tyler. Another confusing new rule? Blindside block called in Lions-Texans game creates waves. CBS Sports. 19 August 2019.
- In Memoriam: Tyler James Riveron (1991-2016)
- Branch, John (15 November 2008). "For Alberto Riveron, From Cuba to N.F.L.'s First Hispanic Referee". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2008.