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ObituaryEd Merrifield, Super Bowl XXVI field judge, passes away

Ed Merrifield, Super Bowl XXVI field judge, passes away

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Edwin J. “Ed” Merrifield, 1932 – 2020

Ed Merrifield, a Super Bowl and conference championship official, passed away this past February 16.

A Missouri native, Merrifield worked in the NFL from 1975 to 1994 on crews lead by Tommy Bell, Jerry Markbreit, Bob McElwee, Gene Barth, Jim Tunney, Howard Roe, and Ron Blum.

Merrifield worked on the field for 11 playoff games: three wild card rounds, five divisionals, two conference championships and Super Bowl XXVI. His final game was the Pro Bowl at the end of the 1994 season.

He wore number 76 for most of his career.

A big highlight for Merrifield was officiating the 1981 NFC Championship Game between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers. He teamed up with side judge Dean Look to call The Catch (photo above).

His career pinnacle happened when the NFL assigned him to Super Bowl XXVI. Unfortunately, he was in the crosshairs of a Marv Levy diatribe at the end of the first half. Merrifield didn’t call pass interference on Washington. As the teams and officials were jogging off the field at the half, Levy berated Merrifield, and the TV cameras clearly show Levy telling Merrifield, “You’ve been bought.”

While Merrifield had every right to penalize Levy for unsportsmanlike conduct for attacking his integrity, the field judge was the epitome of class and walked away.

Prior to joining the NFL, Merrifield worked in the old Big 8 conference (now Big 12). After retiring, Merrifield scouted college officials for the NFL.

Merrifield served the country in the United States Army.

He was preceded in death by two sons. He is survived by his wife, Char; one son; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Our condolences to all who knew him and loved him.

The text of his February obituary appears below.


Edwin “Ed” J. Merrifield, 87, of Kansas City, Missouri, died Sun., Feb. 16, 2020.

Memorial services [were held] 2:00 pm, Sat. February 29, 2020 at North Cross United Methodist Church, 1321 NE Vivion Rd., Kansas City, Mo. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions to Alzheimer’s Association or North Cross United Methodist Church.

Ed was born July 21, 1932, in Hardin, Mo. He graduated from the University of Missouri. Ed was a veteran of the U.S. Army. He retired from Dean Machinery. He worked as a official for the Big 8, and the NFL on the field and as a scout for further officials; Ed worked Super Bowl XXVI, 17 playoff games and the Pro Bowl. He was a 50 year member of the Masonic Lodge AF&AM. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sons, Thomas and Tim. Ed is survived by his wife, Char; son, Michael Scott; five grandchildren, Amber, Amanda, Micayla, Brenna and Andre; and two great-grandchildren, Whit and Penelope.

(Arrangements: Cremation Society of KS & MO, online condolences)

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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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