BTFS (12/28/01): Another exciting NFL football season is winding down. Officiating fans everywhere are scratching their heads trying to predict which officials will be awarded the Super Bowl.
As most NFL football fans know, the officiating part of the game started off on a rough note at the beginning of the regular season when replacement officials were hired to take the places of 119 officials when their contracts expired last March. After a lengthy and testy negotiating period, the National Football League’s Referee’s Association (NFLRA) accepted a deal from the league. NFLRA President, Ed Hochuli, noted that the terrible terrorist’s attacks that occurred in New York speeded up the final decisions that ended a long three-week lockout.
With the contract negotiations completed and put in the past, an exciting year for football had arrived for all officials. All officials yearn each season to do there best to gain excellent ratings in hope they will get awarded the Super Bowl, which will be assigned by Director of Officiating Operations, Larry Upson. Upson was an official for the league during the early 90s and has been working as a Supervisor up until this year when he was hired as the Director of Officiating Operations along with the new Director of Officiating, Mike Pereira.
Upson has complete control of selecting the officials for these games, which is not an easy task. All of the seasonal ratings have to be put together and the highest rated officials will receive the Super Bowl and possibly this season the highest rated crew overall will receive the Pro Bowl. The remaining highest rated officials will receive the other remaining playoff games. The Super Bowl officials usually work the Wild Card round of the playoffs. However, not all officials are eligible for the Super Bowl. All candidates must have at least five seasons of NFL officiating experience and the officials at the Referee position, must have at least five seasons of experience at that position. Officials may not work back-to-back Super Bowls and rookie officials may not work any post-seasons assignments including the Pro Bowl but they may be alternates.
So as we sit back and wonder which officials will get the call at the New Orleans Superdome on February 3rd, 2002, when that Sunday arrives, we will know that they are in there glory and their seasons are now complete and filled with honor.
Behind the Football Stripes