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Clete Blakeman Reportedly Named Super Bowl 50 Referee: Latest Details, Reaction

Referee Clete Blakeman (34) makes a call as he wears a ball cap with a pink accented attire in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness during an NFL football game between the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Roger Steinman/Associated Press
Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2016

Clete Blakeman has been tabbed as the referee for Super Bowl 50 with the Feb. 7 showdown fast approaching. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe provided the full Super Bowl officiating crew from the NFL:

Football Zebras' Ben Austro initially reported the news on Jan. 21. The Super Bowl assignment would be the first of Blakeman's career, but his seven-man crew has combined to work four Super Bowls, per Austro.

Peter King of the MMQB provided his take on the NFL's reported decision: 

Kevin Seifert of ESPN showed how the number of penalties Blakeman calls compares to other top officials: 

Most recently, Blakeman served as the head referee for the Arizona Cardinals' NFC Divisional Round playoff win over the Green Bay Packers—a game briefly clouded by controversy. 

After quarterback Aaron Rodgers' Hail Mary toss landed in the hands of wide receiver Jeff Janis and sent the game to overtime, Blakeman's coin toss in the extra session emerged as a bewildering moment for both teams and fans alike when the coin failed to flip, resulting in a do-over. 

NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino noted the situation was a bit unprecedented, but he praised Blakeman's judgment in a crucial moment. 

"Although the rulebook doesn't specifically state that it must rotate, I think common sense would dictate that the coin has to flip in order to have a coin toss," Blandino said on NFL Network's NFL Total Access (h/t NFL.com's Dan Hanzus). "I thought (Blakeman) did the best job he could with what he had and common sense would dictate that we would flip it again."

Austro also noted postseason officials are selected by Blandino based on their "top-tier" status stemming from regular-season performance. According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Blakeman threw a career-high 14 flags per game during the 2015 season while assessing an average of 113.19 penalty yards. Those figures did not deviate substantially from league averages. 

The Denver Broncos are 5-0 and the Carolina Panthers are 2-2 when Blakeman is the referee, according to David Mullin of BroncosWire.com.

Regardless of which teams emerge as conference champions, Blakeman and his crew will be looking to call a clean game and avoid disputes on the sport's biggest stage. 

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