Let’s kick the Super Bowl preview off with what is obviously the most important non-player in the game, the referee. Only the best have the honor of reffing in the big game, legends like Red Cashion, Jim Tunney, and Ed Hochuli. Some games are called very well, others are scrutinized by fans and media alike (Bill Leavy).
For the 2nd time in his career, Terry McAulay will be the head official in the Super Bowl. The report from the LA Times says that McAulay was selected over Walt Anderson and Bill Carollo, with the 2 men working in the conference championship games. McAulay has been in the league for 11 seasons, and was the referee for Super Bowl XXXIX between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
Interestingly enough, McAulay’s crew is one of the least experienced in the league and everyone else besides McAulay has not been an NFL official for even 10 years! The crew who gets the Super Bowl is based on grades on their performances throughout the season by league supervisors, and in a year where zebra-wearing incompetence and controversial calls have been at a high, this seems like a weird decision. I say this is a rather weird decision because……
This was the same crew that screwed over the Tennessee Titans in their divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. It’s McAulay’s crew that made Jeff Fisher and the entire Nashville population lose it. Do you have a short memory? Well there are some things that transcribed that could’ve completely changed the outcome of the game and who would play in the Super Bowl.
With a little over 2 minutes remaining, with the Ravens driving and the game tied at 10-10, it appeared that the play-clock in the stadium had reached zero. Nearly a full 2 seconds passed by before the ball was snapped, and Joe Flacco found Todd Heap for a gain of 23 (leading to their winning field goal). McAulay explained the folly:
The official Terry McAulay said afterward that the back judge was responsible for the call, that the real play clock had not hit zero and that the Titans could not have challenged for delay of game.
What is the real play-clock? There is no excuse for the “real clock” to be 2 seconds behind the stadium clock.
We know very well about the last Super Bowl that involved the Steelers and the refs, let’s just hope McAulay won’t be the center of controversy. I don’t think he is a bad referee and he and his crew should be given a chance to shine.
Of course, one more moment like the “Beer Bottle” game in Cleveland that was a part of, or the play-clock situation in Nashville means he’ll be downgraded just like Ed Hochuli.