We all love to call for their heads when they miss a play and then praise them when they’re doing a good job, at least for our team, and when they attempt to keep the player’s safe. But really the NFL refs have a hard and demanding job that they almost never get thanked for. Instead they get fans and even players in their faces continually, which is grounds for a flag if the athletes don’t keep themselves under control. And then there’s the coaches that don’t know when to quit or to shut their mouths and are all up in the referee’s grill as though just begging for a flag to be thrown. Tack onto that the fact that the refs have to have the keenest eyes on the field to catch one play after another AND keep a close eye out for penalties being committed, and they have one of the absolute most demanding jobs in the entire NFL.
Thankfully, here are some of the best refs coming back for the 2017 season. Every one of them has been deemed as Super Bowl caliber, which means they are the best in the game.
5. Gene Steratore
He’s been in the league for eleven years and moved into the position of referee as of 2006. The biggest game he ever officiated was the divisional round between the Jets and the Colts in the 2010 season. The most controversial call he had came when he ruled that the Lions did not score a touchdown, which means that they lost to the Bears.
4. Tony Corrente
Tony has been with the NFL for an amazing 19 years and was promoted to the role of referee in 1998. He was one of the officials for Super Bowl 41 that pitted the Colts against the Bears. His worst play in history was during a Saints vs. 49ers game in which he determined that a sack on Drew Brees was too close to his neck, thereby drawing a penalty.
3. Mike Carey
Carey’s been with the league for 24 years now and was actually once a running back at Santa Clara University. He officiated in Super Bowl 42 which pitted the New England Patriots against the New York Giants. His worst play occurred during that same game when Eli Manning was wrapped up but still allowed to throw the ball for a successful reception. The play should have been blown dead long before this.
2. John Parry
Parry has been with the NFL for 14 years and was promoted to the role of referee in 2007. Parry got to officiate in Super Bowl 46 that featured the rivalry of the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. His worst call came when he called a safety on Tom Brady when Brady supposedly intentionally grounded the ball by throwing across the middle to where there were no receivers.
1. Ed Hochuli
Eds’ been in the league now for 24 years which makes him one of the best in the business. His biggest game was in Super Bowl 38 featuring the Patriots taking on the Panthers. Hochuli’s worst play called was actually one that was reviewed and found to be correct when he called a supposed fumble an incomplete pass.
Given their caliber and their experience these refs should be a lot of fun to watch when the season starts.