He was one of the better refs if I remember correctly. R.I.P. Red!Mason L. “Red” Cashion, a Bryan-College Station businessman and longtime NFL official, died Sunday morning. He was 87.
Cashion was most known nationally for two words: His signature, drawled “First down!” call during NFL games. In his 2013 autobiography, he wrote that two other words — “You’re fired” — gave him the freedom and courage to make the infectious enthusiasm with which he refereed possible.
“I certainly hope you never have to hear those two words,” wrote Cashion, “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.”
The two words most synonymous with Cashion came to be, he wrote, because he was fired after one season as an official for the Southland Conference in the 1960s. His initial approach to officiating, he said, was to put forward a “dignified, detached, and stately” demeanor, but Southland Conference coaches said he seemed more aloof than anything.
He wrote that he would not have made it to the NFL if not for being fired — that it changed his perspective and pushed him to overhaul his work and life approach.
“I made a vow to live and work enthusiastically,” he said. “As I met people and interacted with people I already knew, I was stunned by how contagious enthusiasm is in day-to-day life.”