Super Bowl 2013 Referees: Selection of Jerome Boger Raises Eyebrows

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJanuary 30, 2013

Dec. 16, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA: NFL referee Jerome Boger signals first down during the game between the Arizona Cardinals against the Detroit Lions at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the Super Bowl, the best referees in the NFL should be selected to manage the game.


But the appointment of referee Jerome Boger to head crew chief for Super Bowl XLVII has raised plenty of eyebrows throughout the nation.

According to Ben Austro of, Boger received eight negative grades, or markdowns, throughout the course of the 2012 campaign. But all eight of these markdowns were eventually overturned, leaving the seven-year veteran with a spotless record for the season and a trip to New Orleans.

Several notable figures, including former referees Jim Daopoulos and Gerry Austin, disputed the appointment of Boger, according to the New York Times.

While overturning a markdown isn't out of the ordinary among referees, the fact that Boger effectively erased eight negative grades off the slate was alarming to Austin, who was an NFL official for three Super Bowls from 1982 to 2008.

Austin said, via the New York Times report: "Based on my past experience, if you could get two downgrades changed in the course of the year, you’ve done real well."

The reasons why the NFL would push for Boger to be included are unclear. Some believe the prior lockout by referees affected their stature in the league. 

For example, Ed Hochuli, one of the most popular refs in the NFL, was public in his support of officials' demands for better pay. He didn't even get selected to ref one playoff game this season.

Neither did Gene Steratore, who tipped his cap to the fans in his first game back from the lockout. 

If there were some shady dealings behind closed doors, it's frankly pathetic. Politics do not belong on the football field, especially when the championship is on the line. 

Even if this isn't political, allowing a ref to be the lead crew chief when he's been given eight markdowns throughout the season is not exactly putting the best men out there on the field. It's a great lapse in judgment, if nothing else, and it places the league in a bad light. 

It makes you wonder what else the NFL has up its sleeve these days, or if it's operating in a competent manner.

One thing's for sure: Boger better call a good game in Super Bowl XLVII or there's going to be a firestorm of controversy.


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