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Bill Vinovich confirmed as referee for Super Bowl XLIX


Football Zebras exclusive

Bill Vinovich will be the referee heading the Super Bowl officiating staff on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Ariz. Multiple sources have confirmed the Vinovich assignment and most of the crew that Football Zebras determined last week after reviewing qualification criteria and playoff assignment patterns. The assignments were officially given to the crew today.

Vinovich worked the Divisional Playoff game between the Ravens and the Patriots last Saturday. Each of Vinovich’s crew members worked a Divisional Playoff game, but no more than three appeared on the same crew. Officials in the Super Bowl must be ranked in the top tier as determined by the vice-president of officiating, Dean Blandino. Accuracy percentages are a large part of the ranking scheme, but Blandino indicated there are other factors he considers. In addition, past practice has allowed officials to be selected who have not gotten an assignment, but are near the top rank at their positions.

The crew that has been confirmed for the big game is as follows:

Yrs 2014 crew College Occupation
R 52 Bill Vinovich 10 San Diego accountant, former NFL officiating supervisor
U 129 Bill Schuster 15 Coleman Alfred insurance broker
HL 8 Dana McKenzie 7 Morelli Toledo claims adjuster
LJ 9 Mark Perlman 14 Leavy Salem teacher
FJ 25 Bob Waggoner 18 Steratore Juniata College retired probation officer
SJ 97 Tom Hill 16 Allen Carson Newman teacher
BJ 111 Terrence Miles 7 Anderson Arizona State quality control manager
  • Replay official: Mike Wimmer
  • Replay assistant: Terry Poulos
  • Alternates:
    • Referee: Carl Cheffers
    • Umpire: Fred Bryan
    • Linesman: Rusty Baynes
    • Deep wing: Barry Anderson
    • Back judge: Todd Prukop
  • Supervisor:Garth DeFelice
  • Observers: Dean Blandino, Al Riveron
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Ben Austro
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)

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53 thoughts on “Bill Vinovich confirmed as referee for Super Bowl XLIX

  1. “Milk dud” as you put it has worked post-season 4 out of the 6 years he’s been eligible since he was promoted to referee back in 2008–he can’t be that horrible. Wonder why John Parry is sitting at home this post-season (unless he is headed to Hawaii)?

  2. Once again, Steratore gets screwed over by politics. Such a joke, by far the best official in the NFL.

  3. How many father/son’s have worked the Super Bowl? I think Dick McKenzie worked a few including the 1991 contest between Giants and Bills.

  4. Maybe because Steratore won’t stand still when announcing a foul? It’s difficult for the camera guys to stay on him when he’s moving all over the place. Can’t have this jitteriness in a big game. But the real reason many of you will never comprehend why the guy who got the Super Bowl got it? A huge (but delayed due to health issues) thanks, for him coming in when others would not, to help train the replacement officials. Not that he was good at it (he was not, apparently he was a sarcastic dick the entire summer, a real divisive factor who provided nothing to the group) but he did screw over his other “no accountability” union officials by crossing the line and coming in to “train.” Don’t believe the “no accountability?” Just look at the amount and enormity of the huge missed calls all season long. The media is mildly upset about the current level of incompetence.

    If this were replacement guys such as in the first 2-3 games of the 2012 pre-season, the press would now be going stratospheric ballistic. But for some reason, the current staff (many, not all) gets a break from the criticism. Ever wonder why these officials are by far the worst of any pro sport? Because they are not full time. You rarely hear complaints about NBA/NHL/MLB officials, because they are accountable for their performance. Make mistakes and not learn from them? Sayonara, find a new profession. Not in this league. Union protection. Breeds incompetence and a bad attitude. This is a proven fact. Ever see anyone get fired from a union protected job?

    The bottom line is until a full vetting process (and not a “who you know” process) is instituted for hiring, and the very best at this craft are selected into the top positions, there will be no change. You never, ever see this many mistakes in the lower level college ranks – ever – (I’m talking D1AA, D2,D3) because these hardworking, dedicated lower level guys to a man believe if they do it the right way, they will advance. One of these days they will understand that is not how it works to get into D1A or the NFL. It usually takes about ten years of chasing it, before reality smacks them in the face. I guarantee you could find 17 crews of 7 among the hundreds in the lower level college ranks and hired them full time, who after 6 months of training and a few games under their belt would be markedly better than the current staff on the field. Without a doubt.

    All you sycophants out there will never get it, and continue to believe that the current staff is beyond reproach. Some of them are very good at what they do. This is a fact. More than half, however, are not. You see it every Sunday, in every single game. Overweight, unathletic, beer gutted men who are too fat to move, won’t square off, can’t avoid traffic, get beat deep, permit players to intimidate them (Dez Bryant coming onto the field to argue the correct but picked up DPI flag in Detroit/Dallas game comes to mind on the major stage recently) and miss seeing the obvious calls.

    I remember one of my D1AA colleagues (who no longer works with me in college because he crossed the line and has been blackballed – what a waste of one of the best officials I ever had the pleasure to work with) telling me (one of many interesting stories) what a second tier star player told him during a game after he flagged this guy and brought back a score, for a very technical and correct, had to be made, call. “Man, that’s what we love about you replacement guys. Not afraid to flag the stars. That’s great. Look at “him” laughing over there because you caught him. He can’t believe you flagged him.” Then, in another game, his R was told by a superstar’s teammate “I love it. “‘Superstar QB’ never gets called for that false start move and you just flagged him. Bet he doesn’t do it again. You guys are great, laugh laugh. Keep flagging these stars!” This says alot, does it not? Yes, there is too much fear out there which is a reason many of the current staff won’t throw a flag. Guess what? If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen because there are plenty out there who have a NASA like heat shield covering their nuts, who 1) will not be intimidated; 2) who will perform under pressure; and 3) will raise the bar on officiating to where it needs to be. Until then, we will continue to see the joke officiating on the field.

  5. Interesting to see new Super Bowl faces… Schuster’s one 1, Perlman’s done 2, and Waggoner’s done 1 as a BJ.

  6. Bill – who is Milk Dud? (Since we know Triplette is Elmer Fudd, lol).

    SJ George- very well said…..

  7. I also don’t like a couple things – one is Vinovich doing the Super Bowl, especially when there are better refs out there. Corrente is one off the top of my head. Second- this consideration (and maybe I don’t fully understand it) of never working the bowl before. Hey – you’re either great or not that year. Just my 2 cents…..

  8. SJ George…. just a bunch of blah blah blah from a guy who hasn’t made the big show and it’s probably for a good reason. Way to “name drop” your connection to D1AA. That’s barely a lick over high school JV.

    Your strawman arguments along with a clear misunderstanding of what it takes to master the NFL rule book is proof positive you’re a troll. To even think that a mere 6 months and a few games of training would develop top-notch officials is a joke. You’re laughable.

    And tell your scab buddy too bad he crossed the line and blew his shot. You know why everyone that crossed, crossed?…because they knew that was their only shot to work in the NFL. If your buddy thought he had a real chance he should have turned it down.

    Good luck at North Rhode Island State college Div 2B or whatever it is you work.

    Sour grapes is a bad look for you.

  9. Maybe it’s a good thing Denver is not going to the Super Bowl. They would not have had a chance against Vinovich.

  10. New England can’t lose this Superbowl now if they get there.
    Can’t believe how badly Vinovich screwed Baltimore in the Divisional Game.
    Worst ref in the league.

  11. Agreed Jerome- a true jerk. And btw- baseball has had it’s moments with bad umpiring and they’re full timers and basketball is a joke. However football needs to clean up its act with officiating as a whole….

  12. MLB has more than it’s fair share of terrible umpires, I wonder how many of them still have jobs. Same goes for the NBA, The officiating in the NHL is at an all time low in my book; don’t think I’ve ever seen it this bad.

  13. Congrats to Tom Hill, I know him from the golf course and have watched many of the games he has been involved in. He is a very thorough and fair person, glad to see his 16 years of experience finally gets rewarded ! Go Tom!

  14. So unreal, Gene should have been the SB referee, that call he had to make was correct based on NFL rules, is that why he didn’t get it, bullcrap, Bill is not as good as Gene, and there were some shady things in that Ravens/Pats game that showed that BIll is not a SB referee. and why is a wild card round referee been assigned as a backup, shouldn’t somebody from the Divisional round be a backup referee if something happen to Bill?

  15. @Rick

    On one hand, those strokes are counted accurately. On the other, no one gets away with anything, I’m sure.

  16. This will not be a fair Super Bowl. Seattle is 7-1 when Vinovich is the referee. He is also the worst ref in the NFL. The proof is the Seattle-Philadelphia game this year, as there were many blatant and obvious calls that went the Seahawks way.

  17. Great job all year Tom Hill.. golf with him every day when not working a game. Knows the book in side and out!!! Great choice,Brad Blandino..Well deserved..

  18. So who is really more important as far as their assignment on the field? I would say the down field men will toss more flags since they have the passing routes,whereas the ref/umpire may have less to actually toss a flag to

  19. Congrats Bill Vinovich aka “Chipmunk” from all your friends in the Canadian Football League officiating ranks.
    Dave Yule #64 (ret)

  20. Matty R, thank you for showing your ignorance. Amazing how the written word will expose the fool. Clearly, you have no idea of what it takes to make it to D1 or D1AA (laughable to compare D1AA to JV high school seals my case). You are a fool, and have no idea about what the replacement gig was all about, and how it was deliberately torpedoed by one in charge, so he could get his kids back to work who don’t have “real” jobs.

  21. What is the under/over for blown calls? Didn’t take long. Crushed plant leg. That’s an easy call. 15 yards. Idiot calls running into. Blown call number one!

  22. Two more misses. At 7.48 in 4th NE DPI, defender falls, reaches out and quickly grabs receiver’s ankle to trip him. Material effect. Need a flag and don’t have one. Huge miss # 3. Unacceptable. Earlier, marginal call at best on late hit OOB. Missed OPI by NE, receiver grabbed defenders arm while ball is up and held it down, Huge restriction.

  23. I’m into referee names and years they work. From the beginning of their nfl career. Years in, positions, year ended. This is my hobbie. MAHALO.

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