Trailblazing NFL official and Pro Football Hall of Famer Art McNally dies

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Art McNally, the first NFL official to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 97.

McNally spent 23 years as the NFL's director of officiating and was responsible for introducing the instant replay review process and formal training for officials.

He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year and known as "the father of modern officiating", died of natural causes on Sunday, his family confirmed.

"Art McNally was an extraordinary man, the epitome of integrity and class," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

"Fittingly, he was the first game official enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

"But more importantly, he was a Hall of Fame person in absolutely every way."