2023 Super Bowl: who is the referee and officiating crew?
Experienced NFL referee Carl Cheffers will oversee his third Super Bowl in Glendale on Sunday as the Chiefs take on the Eagles.
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In late January, the NFL confirmed Carl Cheffers as the lead referee for Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. Both the 62-year-old and five members of the eight-man officiating crew all have previous experience in the Super Bowl.
Cheffers, 62, joined NFL as a side judge in 2000, making his debut in September of that year - curiously, in a match involving the Kansas City Chiefs - the Chiefs losing the game 14-27 to the Indianapolis Colts. He continued in the role until 2008 when he oversaw his first game as a lead referee - once again, in charge of a Chiefs game and once again, it ended in defeat for Kansas, who slumped 10-17 to the New England Patriots.
Cheffers hasn’t exactly brought the Chiefs much luck over the years and it’s little wonder that some fans had reservations when he was appointed for Super Bowl LVII. He made a controversial call by flagging Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher in the 2017 playoff against the Steelers, a decision which ultimately cost Kansas a place in the AFC Championship final. Afterwards, Chiefs TE Travis Kelce moaned that Cheffers “shouldn’t wear a zebra jersey ever again - he’s not even fit to work at Foot Locker...”
Cheffers’ previous Super Bowls
Nevertheless, Cheffers is one of the most experienced NFL referees - out of all of the refs who are currently active, only Jerome Boger, who started out in 2006, has been in the game longer. Cheffers has also overseen two previous editions of the Super Bowl. He was in charge for Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, as well as Super Bowl LV between the Chiefs and the Buccaneers.
Most of his officiating team also have over a decade of Super Bowl experience - Umpire Roy Ellison was at Super Bowl LIII and XLII, Line Judge Jeff Bergman (LIIII, XXXI), Side Judge Eugene Hall (LIV, LIIII) and Back Judge Dino Paganelli (LIV, XLVII).
Referee and officiating crew for Super Bowl LVII
As for the figures, the overall balance in NFL games refereed by Cheffers, the Eagles are 6-8 while the Chiefs are 16-7. His officiating crew (NB. not the same members of his Super Bowl crew) called an average of 12.59 penalties per game -1.48 more than the NFL average; he also called 21 pass interferences this season, the second highest figure. Many commentators are predicting a flag fest... we’ll see.
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