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5 observations from Super Bowl LIII

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The Super Bowl is over, and thankfully we aren’t breaking down any officiating controversies today.

But there are some interesting officiating nuggets to note.

1. No replays

Replay official Jim Lapetina was busy yesterday, but he never had to buzz in with a booth challenge. There were a few plays where I was expecting a challenge flag, but coaches were not ready to risk a timeout.

Nice to see the game keep moving.

2. Smooth game flow

Whenever the officials had to sort out a call or enforce a penalty, John Parry did a great job getting the information from his crew, communicating with the sidelines, announcing the penalty and getting back to the game.

Also, kudos to the rest of the crew for clearly communicating their information to Parry to help keep the game moving.

3. Camp and Bergman with great spots

Both Ed Camp and Jeff Bergman did a very good job marking forward progress spots, especially Bergman for an exact spot late in the fourth quarter that set up a fourth and inches for the Patriots.

4. The calls were there

When the officials dropped a penalty flag, replays validated the call. Many disagree with the Nikell Robey-Coleman personal foul in the first quarter. It was close, but officials will always err on the side of a flag when it comes to player safety issues.

Jeff Bergman wasn’t afraid to let his flag fly on several instances. In a tight game where both teams can’t move the football, a penalty flag is a major drive-sustaining or drive-killing call. All the officials knew that, yet they still made the call.

5. The officials left it all on the field

While the game was not exciting, it was compelling and the result was in doubt until the last few minutes. For those who lived through almost all the Super Bowls from 1981 – 1995, that in and of itself is a nice thing. Still, NFL Network will not put this into their classic rotation.

That said, the officials left it all on the field. From what I can tell, the officials should be very proud of their performance. They gave it their all and no one will remember them in vain.

And that is always a win for the officials.

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Mark Schultz
Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"

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One thought on “5 observations from Super Bowl LIII

  1. With all the Edelman hype, I was a bit surprised one of his earlier catches (crossing route to the right, tackled near the right sideline) wasn’t flagged for initiating contact with the head. When he approached the would-be tackler, it looked to me like he lowered his head and initiated contact with the crown of his helmet. (I haven’t seen a replay, so forgive me if my interpretation isn’t quite right.) Any comments you have would be appreciated.

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