50 Super Bowl calls, Part 1: L to XLI

The Football Zebras staff -- with the assistance of our affiliated forum, Behind the Football Stripes -- has examined the Super Bowls of years past for the work of the officials who, in a given year, attain the honor of the best of the best. While every team competes for

The coin toss: What could go wrong?

It is a simple procedure. The game can't begin without it. Before any football game starts the referee has to decide who gets the ball first. For generations, that question has been decided by the coin toss. The procedure is the same from pee-wee games to the NFL.First of all,

Happy birthday Jerry Markbreit

View image | gettyimages.com Most famous referee of the 1980s and 1990s turns 80 years old Before there was Ed Hochuli, there was Jerry Markbreit.  The former NFL referee from 1976 to 1998 turned 80 years old today. Markbreit got his start officiating while a college student at the University of Illinois.  He

‘Double-rookie’ ref Allen impresses in debut

Brad Allen works his first-ever NFL game as a referee Referee Brad Allen (number 122) made history this past Sunday as he worked his first-ever game in the NFL at the referee position.  His first game was at Soldier Field in Chicago, as the Bears hosted the Buffalo Bills. He's jokingly referred to as

Brad Allen named crew chief in 1st NFL season

First rookie-season R since 1966 On the heels of the surprise announcement that Mike Carey is retiring from the NFL, Football Zebras can confirm that rookie official Brad Allen will call his first NFL season at the referee position.  To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time a

NFL may have to change the way it appoints referees

Vital proving grounds for white hat candidates no longer exist Commentary by Mark Schultz The NFL could be having a white hat problem in the next few years.  Several referees have put in 20 or more years of service, meaning that their retirement window is starting to open.  There are at least

4 historic facts related to this year’s Super Bowl crew

I enjoy historic aspects of NFL officiating and as we get ready to zebra watch in Super Bowl XLVIII here are some interesting nuggets regarding officiating in the Super Bowl. Field judge Scott Steenson sets the record for most years between return trips.  Steenson worked Super Bowl XXXI, and makes his

1978: Holy Roller play revises rules

https://youtu.be/aGffYc5eXnA Sept. 10, 1978 Raiders at Chargers Quarterback Ken Stabler deliberately (according to his own admission and to those who have eyes) fumbled the ball forward, and carnival-like antics by the Oakland Raiders propelled the ball towards an end-zone recovery. The game-winning touchdown over the San Diego Chargers counted as the clock expired.

5-time Super Bowl line judge Beeks dies

Bob Beeks 1927–2012 Bob Beeks died on December 26, 2012, as reported by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  He died on his 85th birthday.  According to his family, he suffered an apparent heart attack.  Beeks was a NFL line judge from 1968 to 1989.  He wore uniform number 59 for most of