Singletary adds ex-NFL ref to the coaches’ booth

One of Mike Singletary’s first moves after taking over as interim coach was to add former NFL official Ron Blum to 49es’ coaching box on game days.

Blum spent 23 seasons as an NFL official and called two Super Bowls before retiring at the end of last season. He joins five members of the 49ers’ coaching staff and director of football operations Paraag Marathe in the team’s coaches’ booth.


Blum’s presence in the 49ers’ coaches booth was not previously known until he was spotted on the same level as the press box for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.


The logical conclusion was that Blum was brought in as a consultant after the 49ers’ botched the final crucial moments of their nationally televised Monday night game against the Arizona Cardinals last month.


However, a team spokesman said Tuesday that Blum was in the booth for that game. Blum’s first game was the Oct. 26 game against the Seattle Seahawks, the team says.


Singletary declined to describe the specifics of Blum’s role when asked about it after Sunday’s game. But it would seem only logical that Blum would be called upon to assist with rules interpretations and replay challenges.


The 49ers, under former coach Mike Nolan and Singletary, lost their first six replay challenges of the season before winning one against the Dallas Cowboys last week.


“Ron is a guy retired guy who likes football,” Singletary said. “He’s helped us with some things, as far as certain calls or whatever. . . . It’s not a big deal.”


Blum has been a regular at the 49ers’ practice facility this season. The 49ers hire two high-school officials for every practice, and Blum has joined them on occasion.

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