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Football Zebras > 2015 Postseason > Who will be the referee at Super Bowl 50?

Who will be the referee at Super Bowl 50?


Update: Full crew is posted here. Below are our predictions from earlier in the playoffs.

Now that the divisional playoff assignments have been posted by Football Zebras, we can look to who the potential crew chief will be for the Super Bowl. The NFL assigns its Super Bowl officiating staff to a second-round game to break up the gap between the end of the regular season and the big game, leaving us to choose from Terry McAulay, Craig Wrolstad, Clete Blakeman and Tony Corrente. McAulay most recently officiated Super Bowl XLVIII, two seasons ago. Wrolstad is ineligible for the Super Bowl, as he needs to have three years’ experience at the white hat position. (He has already worked a Super Bowl as a field judge.) For Super Bowl 50, we make our case for …

Tony Corrente

Tony Corrente is a 21-year veteran with 19 years experience as a referee. He got off to a strong start early, working four playoff games in his first four years of eligibility, including a conference championship game. He then seemed to fall off the radar, missing out on three straight playoff assignments. He bounced back by being assigned to Super Bowl XLI. After the Super Bowl assignment he received playoff games in six out of the last eight years — including the last two conference championships.

Corrente definitely has the experience to handle the big game. He would also come into the game seasoned overcoming throat cancer four years ago.

After a season where officiating, rightly or wrongly, drew fire from public, vice president of officiating Dean Blandino needs to field an officiating crew that gives the officials the best chance to “win.” While any of the officials this weekend could handle the big game, Corrente gives the NFL the best chance to win the officiating. Look for number 99 to be assigned Super Bowl 50.

— Mark Schultz

Clete Blakeman

Clete Blakeman had been the new kid in town for a while. He was on the fast track to being a referee when the league hired him in 2008; although they waited until his third season to make him crew chief, he was ready right away. In the past two years, the league has seen a sizable turnover in the officiating department and four officials promoted to the white hat, Blakeman has emerged from the junior status to that of a seasoned veteran.

Now in his eighth season, Blakeman has demonstrated he is ready for the top assignment. While there have been some notable breakdowns in the past with his crews, but he also has run an efficient crew. This season he continued to show his ability to command an efficient game, most notably when an unusual and complex clock situation was corrected in an unorthodox, but correct, manner. Successfully navigating through a thicket of a runoff, a timeout, and a potential penalty, Blakeman was able to get the proper ruling and the proper time on the clock.

In addition to grading, in my estimation, in the top tier this season, his leadership intangibles round out the entire equation as to why Blakeman is the choice to represent the historic Super Bowl. He will once again the new kid in town on Super Bowl Sunday, but he will return again to the big stage as the veteran.

— Ben Austro

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12 thoughts on “Who will be the referee at Super Bowl 50?

  1. Dean Blandino! Unfortunately, all of the bad calls will be reversed after the game is over!

  2. I vote for Blakeman. I know that he has two very subpar crew members, and has still done good work this year.

    By the way, I can’t vouch for the other 4 members. But, he overcame those 2 weak members. Which is hard to do… just ask Morelli and Steratore about overcoming weak crew members. It really is unfair to take this great refs and stick them with the subpar guys they are bringing in to work. Especially, when there are plenty of good officials working the college games.

    But, I thought that Blakeman had total control and worked a game as you should when I saw him work this year. He gets my vote.

  3. Who from Blakeman’s crew was sub par and why? The worst crew was Morelli. Dale Shaw probably will get canned since he has never even been an alternate in the playoffs. Sarah Thomas was horrible and Vernatchi took a huge step back this season.

  4. I’m going with Corrente for 2 reasons:

    1. He’s deserving of it. Body of work speaks for itself, both this season and past seasons.
    2. He was likely the top official last season, but got passed over for Bill Vinovich. Rules say that the top official can’t be passed over in back-to-back years.

    Hence, I think it’s Corrente’s assignment to lose.

    (Although, I would love it if Terry McAulay gets the assignment for the sole reason that the reaction from certain posters here would be hilarious.)

  5. @will
    Morelli had a terrible U and an adequate at best HL. The LJ is not ready for college ball. Just a stunt.

    The HL for Blakeman is incompetent. The LJ is poor at best.

    I can’t comment on the rest of the crew members from Blakeman and Morelli. Just know what I have witnessed.

  6. Ruben Fowler and Carl Johnson are definitely not poor officials. Johnson worked the NFC title game last year and has a Super Bowl on his resume and Fowler has 2 CC assignments and has not missed the playoffs since at least 2007 and maybe earlier. Nice try though.

  7. @russ Who are you going to believe – me or your lying eyes?

    I know what I have seen, and I don’t care what games they worked, they are not very good officials. Furthermore, plenty of officials were good at one point and stay too long. The NFL had a HL working recently who could barely move. Nice guy, who everyone liked, who had been a good official in the past… but was awful for his final two or three years.

  8. The one that calls offsides and holding on the Panthers and no PI on the Broncos giving Manning another Super Bowl.

  9. I would be willing to wager most all of the people commenting have never officiated a football game Sunday refs ALL. Most all the comments were not correct. Thomas should never be allowed on the field in the future. Clearly a politically correct move She sucks. When will the commissioner respond like baseball and suspend football players fotv8games after a drug violation. Goodwill is a pussy and a lying ass- kisser CTE will haunt these greedy owners and stupid nfl leaders.

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