NFL

Longtime NFL referee Red Cashion dies at 87

Cashion's career spanned from 1972-96. He was known for the distinctive way he called for first downs.

Mason L. "Red" Cashion, one of the most iconic referees in NFL history, died Sunday, The Eagle reported. He was 87.

Cashion's NFL career spans three decades from 1972-96, during which he covered two Super Bowls. He was best known for the way he yelled "first down!" during games.

Cashion was born in College Station, Texas, in 1931. He began his referee career while completing his studies at Texas A&M. He said it was him being fired after one season as an official for the Southland Conference in the 1960s that made him successful in the NFL.

Along with "first down!" Cashion said hearing "you're fired" is what gave him that fuel.

“I certainly hope you never have to hear those two words,” Cashion wrote in his autobiography "First Dooowwwnnn ... and Life to Go!" published in 2012. “Unless, of course, they have the same wonderfully positive effect on your life as they did on mine. Being fired was definitely a life-altering event for me in a good way.”

Cashion was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. His wife of 47 years, Lou, preceded him in death in 1999. The couple had five children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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