Connect with us


All in the family: NFL referee style




Sunday night was Hochuli ×2 (‘Gun and Pistol’ night?)

Earlier this week, NFL back judge Steve Freeman officiated a game with his son, Brad.  Also this week, Ed Hochuli got to officiate a preseason game with his son, Shawn.  Both Brad Freeman and Shawn Hochuli are part of the developmental program where potential NFL officiating candidates are scouted by the league and work some preseason games to gain experience.  NFL vice president of football communications Michael Signora says, “Our goal is to get the best officials on the field.  When those officials are related then of course we acknowledge that this is something very special for the people involved.”

This is not the first time fathers and sons have shared the same field.  In 1991 current line judge Jeff Bergman and his father, Jerry Bergman Sr., made history being the first father-son duo to officiate a game together during the preseason.  Other fathers have had their sons officiate in the NFL, but not at the same time.  

  • Dick Ferguson (deep official in the 1970s and ’80s) and current back judge Keith Ferguson
  • Tony Veteri Sr. (head linesman in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s) and current head linesman Tony Veteri Jr.
  • Jerry Bergman Sr. (head linesman 1965-1995) and current line judge Jeff Bergman and head linesman Jerry Bergman, Jr.
  • Bob Rice (deep official in the ’70s and ’80s) and current umpire Jeff Rice
  • Jerry Seeman (referee, former director of officiating, and current officiating observer) and current line judge Jeff Seeman
  • Jim Quirk Sr. (former umpire and head of the NFL Referees Association) and current back judge Jim Quirk Jr.
  • Ron Baynes (former line judge) and side judge Allen and line judge Rusty Baynes.
  • Dick McKenzie (retired line judge) and line judge Dana McKenzie
  • Referee Walt Coleman and side judge Walt Coleman, IV

There are several brothers who work or have worked in the NFL:

  • Retired referee Mike Carey and retired back judge Don Carey
  • Line judge Jeff Bergman and head linesman Jerry Bergman
  • Referee Gene Steratore and back judge Tony Steratore
  • Umpire Carl Paganelli and back judges Perry and Dino Paganelli
  • Head linesman John McGrath and replay official Bob McGrath (who worked as a field judge before his brother John joined the league)
  • Side judge Allan Baynes and line judge Rusty Baynes

To the best of my recollection, all the brothers except the McGraths have worked on the field together — in some cases, working on the same regular season crew.   Also, I don’t believe Perry and Dino Paganelli have both worked on the same field together in the NFL since they both are back judges.  

So, if you happen to see some familiar names and faces, there’s a good chance it’s a family affair on the field.

 Image: NFL/Fox Sports/NFL Network

Updated July 2017