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Jerome Boger confirmed for Super Bowl



Jerome Boger conducts the coin toss at a Week 5, 2012 game in San Francisco between the Bills and 49ers. (San Francisco 49ers photo)

Jerome Boger has been confirmed to be the referee for Super Bowl XLVII . (San Francisco 49ers photo)

Jerome Boger will head to New Orleans lead the officiating crew for Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3. We have confirmed the assignment that was first reported by us as rumor on Dec. 30. The entire officiating staff was told of the assignment today.

Boger’s assignment is not without controversy. He was the highest graded official according to league sources this season, despite prevalent opinions, including ours, that other officials seemed to have better seasons. Even if Boger is the highest graded official, he has not made playoff grade in three of six possible opportunities prior to this season. One of the prerequisites for the referee position is to have officiated a conference championship in a prior season at any position. Boger’s three career postseason games before this year were all divisional playoff games.

There is a provision that allows officials to work a Super Bowl without conference championship experience. An official who has worked three of the past five postseasons is also eligible, but that provision, according to the league two weeks ago, does not apply to the referee position — the head of the crew. Even if you extend the 3-of-5 provision to Boger, he still does not have enough playoff games to fill the requirement.

When we reported on the possibility of Boger getting the Super Bowl assignment, league spokesman Michael Signora said, “We look forward to having our best officials on the field throughout the playoffs.” In an e-mail to us, Signora listed the assignment criteria, and added “There is no change to the Super Bowl assignment system.”

We are seeking a comment from the league, as there actually has been a change to the Super Bowl assignment system.

Update: From Michael Signora, vice president of football communications:

The criteria for referees to be eligible for the Super Bowl is three years experience as a referee (and five years total) and playoff experience as a referee. That criteria has not changed since at least 2007.

We will announce the Super Bowl officiating crew during the week of the game, as we have done in years past.

We stand behind the original reporting that the conference championship requirement has been in effect. We have since corroborated our assessment with a former official.

      Yr. Crew Playoff assignments (years missed playoffs)
R 23 Jerome Boger 9   3 (3) 3 divisional
U 76 Darrell Jenkins 11 Morelli 5 (4) 2 wild card, 3 divisional
HL 22 Steve Stelljes 11 Anderson 4 (5) 1 wild card, 2 divisional, 1 conf. champ.
LJ 18 Byron Boston 18 Anderson 15 (3) 2 wild card, 5 divisional, 7 conf. champ., 1 Super Bowl
FJ 4 Craig Wrolstad 10 Hochuli 6 (2) 3 wild card, 2 divisional, 1 conf. champ.
SJ 73 Joe Larrew 11 Boger 3 (6) 1 wild card, 2 divisional
BJ 105 Dino Paganelli 7 Steratore 4 (1) 1 wild card, 2 divisional, 1 conf. champ.
  • Alternates: Bill Vinovich (referee), Bruce Stritesky (umpire), Tom Stephan (linesman), Scott Edwards (deep wing), Steve Freeman (back judge)
  • Replay official: Bill Spyksma
  • Video assistant: Terry Sullivan
  • Supervisor: Gary Slaughter
  • Observer: Carl Johnson

(A few notes: the number of years includes this season, but the playoff assignments do not include this year’s assignments — every official on the list worked a divisional playoff. Also keep in mind that an official cannot work a playoff game in his rookie year, so it is not counted as having missed the playoffs. Boger also was ineligible the first year he was at the referee position, and that is not counted, either.)

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)