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25 years ago, the most famous call… ever: “Giving him the business down there”



Oct. 5, 1986: Bills at Jets

Rarely does the referee make the highlight reel for anything positive. But, 25 years ago Ben Dreith made the call that turned quite a few heads. While calling Jets defensive lineman Marty Lyons for unnecessary roughness on Bills quarterback Jim Kelly — well, I will let Dreith explain:

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Dreith had other calls through his career that made him one of the first household names in the officiating circuits. In 1990, he was asked to work as a replay official. He declined, and the league reassigned him as a line judge. After being fired in the ensuing offseason, Dreith sued the NFL for age discrimination and won a settlement from the league in 1993.

In 2007, ACC referee Ron Cherry paid homage to Dreith’s call when a lineman took a shot to the — uhhh, cherries. It was the fourth quarter of a blowout by Maryland over North Carolina State, and Cherry kept it interesting.

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)