Carl Madsen, who worked as an NFL ref for over 20 years, died Sunday after working the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennesee Titans.
According to the New York Post, 71-year-old Madsen suffered a medical issue on Sunday while driving home from the game. He lived in Weldon Spring, Missouri, which is about five and a half hours away from Nissan Stadium in Nashville. His SUV stalled on Interstate 65 North, and he was unconscious in the car when someone called the police around 4:46 p.m. CT.
On Monday, Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said that the police broke open a window to get Carl Madsen out of the vehicle. They performed chest compressions at the scene until the fire department could take the NFL ref to St. Thomas Midtown Hospital. He passed away at that hospital.
At this time, no cause of death has been identified.
Carl Madsen became an NFL official in 1997, first joining as an umpire. Per The Daily Mail, he worked on the field for 11 years until 2008. From the start of the 2009 season until this past Sunday, Madsen worked in replay. The ref was also a veteran, having served in the U.S. Air Force from 1973 until 1976.
NFL Mourns for Longtime Referee Carl Madsen
Walt Anderson, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, sent out a statement after the death of Carl Madsen.
“Carl Madsen was an NFL officiating fixture for more than two decades, first as a highly respected on-field official before transitioning to a replay role beginning in 2009,” Anderson wrote.
“A terrific friend and colleague, Carl’s love of football and dedication to officiating were ever-present, as he generously shared his time to mentor young officials at clinics across the country. A veteran of the Air Force, Carl had a tremendous spirit and will be greatly missed,” Anderson concluded.
Scott Green, the executive director of the NFL Referees Association, also spoke out about the tragic loss.
“Carl will be missed by those who worked with him on the field and in replay. He had a nickname among his fellow officials of `Big Country,’ which was not only related to his size but to his big personality as a warm and generous man.”
Tom Pelissero, an NFL reporter, posted Anderson’s statement to his Twitter page. He also captioned the post, “Terrible news: A longtime member of the NFL officiating family, replay official Carl Madsen, passed away tragically Sunday while en route home from the Kansas City-Tennessee game. He was 71.”
The NFL world will miss Madsen, who seemed to bring a lot of character and personality to the job. Fans, players, and officials alike all mourn his loss.