The Official Story

February 02, 2004

The ultimate on-field authority in Super Bowl XXXVIII will be
referee Ed Hochuli, who has worked one other title game (XXXII,
Broncos-Packers). "I've never seen a crew call a perfect game,"
says Mike Pereira, the NFL's director of officiating, "but I've
never seen a team play a perfect game either. If a crew makes
three mistakes out of 160 plays--unless the mistake is on a
game-deciding play--then it has done a very good job." The crew
for the Eagles-Falcons game on Nov. 2 was in position when this
photograph was taken. Here is each official's responsibility,
with the names of the men who will work this Sunday's game.

REFEREE
ED HOCHULI
14th NFL season
Attorney

Positioned 10 to 12 yards behind the line of scrimmage and just
to the quarterback's right (or to the left if the passer is
lefthanded), he watches for illegal procedure in the backfield.
After the ball is snapped on passing plays, he watches the tackle
on the head linesman's side, then shifts his focus solely to the
quarterback. He is responsible for flagging all penalties
involving the quarterback, including intentional grounding. In
kicking situations, he watches for infractions against the kicker
or punter. He also has the final say on all decisions in which
there is a disagreement among crew members. The referee is the
CEO: During the week he critiques the work of each of his crew
members by analyzing the previous week's game tapes, then
oversees the Saturday organizational meeting. "He's in charge of
everything those guys need to learn and do on and off the field,"
says Pereira.

THE CALLS

FALSE START
ILLEGAL MOTION
HOLDING
INTENTIONAL GROUNDING
PERSONAL FOUL

FIELD JUDGE
TOM SIFFERMAN
18th NFL season
Manufacturer's rep

He positions himself 20 yards downfield from the line judge. As
with the side judge, he must sprint on longer plays and get into
position to determine whether a ballcarrier has crossed the goal
line. "The field judge and the line judge do a lot of running,"
Pereira says. He's a key figure in determining pass interference,
while focusing on the receiver split the widest to his side of
the field. Along with the back judge, he lines up under the
goalpost to rule on field goal and extra-point attempts.

THE CALLS

PASS INTERFERENCE
ILLEGAL CONTACT
HOLDING
UNCATCHABLE PASS
BALL JUGGLED INBOUNDS

LINE JUDGE
BEN MONTGOMERY
22nd NFL season
School administrator

He straddles the line of scrimmage on the side of the field
opposite the head linesman, looking for illegal movement along
the defensive line and false starts. As the backup clock
operator, the line judge must keep the time on the field in case
the stadium clock malfunctions--and he has the power to adjust
the time. He is responsible for deciding whether the quarterback
crossed the scrimmage line before throwing a pass and, on punts,
whether a player is illegally downfield before the ball is
kicked.

THE CALLS

OFFSIDE
ILLEGAL MOTION
FALSE START
ILLEGAL FORWARD PASS
INELIGIBLE DOWNFIELD

BACK JUDGE
SCOTT GREEN
13th NFL season
V.P., Government relations

He stands about 25 yards downfield, usually on the same side of
the field as the tight end, then watches for infractions by or
against the tight end. He must be able to move quickly from side
to side. "He's what we call the windshield wiper because he has
to run from one side of the field to the other so often," says
Pereira. He's a key arbiter on pass interference calls, monitors
the 25-and 40-second play clocks for delay of game and, along
with the field judge, rules on field goal and extra-point
attempts from under the goalpost.

THE CALLS

DELAY OF GAME
PASS INTERFERENCE
HOLDING
ILLEGAL CONTACT
UNCATCHABLE PASS

UMPIRE
JEFF RICE
9th NFL season
Attorney

The equivalent of a referee in boxing, he is instrumental in
keeping the players' emotions under control. Positioned five
yards off the line of scrimmage, he watches for false starts,
holding by interior linemen and interference on short passes,
while constantly getting bumped or slammed into. Because of that
contact some umpires wear a flak jacket. "They're probably 10
times more likely than anyone else to get an injury," says
Pereira. "They're the toughest officials we have."

THE CALLS

HOLDING
ILLEGAL USE OF HANDS
FALSE START
ILLEGAL CUT
PASS INTERFERENCE

HEAD LINESMAN
MARK HITTNER
7th NFL season
Insurance sales

He straddles the line of scrimmage before the snap, watching for
encroachment, offside and false starts on his side of the field.
He also marks the spot of a ballcarrier's forward progress and
oversees the chain crew. All officials are expected to know what
down it is, but the head linesman has the last word. On pass
plays he drifts downfield to help on situations involving
interference and illegal contact. He also assists the referee on
intentional-grounding penalties.

THE CALLS

OFFSIDE
ILLEGAL MOTION
INTENTIONAL GROUNDING
PASS INTERFERENCE
ILLEGAL CONTACT

SIDE JUDGE

LAIRD HAYES
9th NFL season
P.E. and athletics professor

He lines up 20 yards downfield from the head linesman. Like the
field judge, he has to sprint downfield to beat the ballcarrier
to the goal line on a touchdown. He watches for pass
interference, keying on the receiver split widest on his side of
the field. At halftime he and the head linesman switch sides of
the field. "That's to prevent one coach from thinking the other
coach is working the official on his side so hard that he'll
start getting the calls in the second half," Pereira says.

THE CALLS

PASS INTERFERENCE
ILLEGAL CONTACT
HOLDING
UNCATCHABLE PASS
BALL JUGGLED INBOUNDS

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY BILL FRAKES THIRTY-FIVE B/W ILLUSTRATIONS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)