Some officials cry foul over Jerome Boger refereeing the Super Bowl

AP

Jerome Boger will referee Super Bowl XLVII, but some of his colleagues think he was the wrong choice.

Several officials told Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports that they believe the league office first decided it wanted to give the game to Boger, then changed his grades so that he would come out as the top-rated referee in the league for the 2012 season and therefore earn the Super Bowl assignment.

You see grades being changed, constantly being changed, only for certain people,” one official told Yahoo! Sports.

Another official said that it’s commonly accepted among the league’s officials that the people who grade the officials play favorites.

“It’s disheartening,” said another official, “and you never think at this level that would happen. It’s the individuals running the show that have created this mess. If you talk to 121 guys, there will be 100-plus who say the system is horrendous.”

In fairness to Boger, it should be noted that we don’t know if these anonymous officials have an axe to grind themselves. And if it’s really true that more than 100 of the 121 officials think the system is broken, then the officials themselves deserve some blame: They shouldn’t have voted to ratify their Collective Bargaining Agreement at the end of the lockout in September if that CBA didn’t fix a broken system.

But something does smell fishy about the way officials are graded. Yahoo Sports confirmed a report from FootballZebras.com that Boger was downgraded eight times for mistakes during the regular season, but that all eight of those downgrades were reversed on appeal. The implication is that the appeals are being handled by a league official who wants to see Boger end up with the highest grade among all the NFL’s referees.

“[Boger] shouldn’t even be eligible for the game,” one official said. “Everybody basically knows what’s happening. You see when grades appear, and when grades mysteriously disappear. Any incorrect call or missed call will disappear for no reason at all.”

NFL spokesman Michael Signora, however, told Yahoo, “There is no merit to the suggestion that Jerome Boger’s grades were treated differently from those of any other official.”

Right or wrong, it’s clear that some officials don’t believe that.

90 responses to “Some officials cry foul over Jerome Boger refereeing the Super Bowl

  1. No way?

    The officials are making this about them?…

    (in my Gomer voice)..
    “Surprise!..Surprise!..Surprise!”

    I wonder how much worse the replacements were graded?.. Frankly, I didn’t notice much difference.

  2. In order to help fix the system, I think instead of grades, the officials should be fined for every missed called or bogus call. Then have the those fines published and released like the fines for players are each week…At the end of the season whomever has the least amount of fines gets the big game.

  3. Wow. Boger and his crew are probably the worst in the NFL. I always cringe when I see this guy is doing a Raiders game.

    Wonder why the league wants him for the Super Bowl ;-{|

  4. Is Ed ‘Flex’ Hochuli officiating? That guy is a hoot. Skin-tight, two sizes too small shirt, and a Mr. Universe pose on every call.

  5. I’m glad that footballzebras article made it here. It’s outrageous if it’s true. So is the policy of having “all star crews” for the playoffs. We see the Pro Bowl and how hard it is for teams (effort aside) to get on the same page enough to look like a team, and they have a couple walkthroughs before the game. Officiating crews are teams too. All those “working as a team” dynamics would likely affect them as well.

    And I think they should get double downgrades when they view the play on replay and are still found to get it wrong.

  6. The game isn’t officiated by one man. He’ll just be the one on camera the most and the one with the mic.

    There’s an entire underworld of side judges, back judges, line judges, review officials etc.

    Who cares what high school antics the zebras use amongst each other?

    Just show up and call the game!

  7. I hate Boger! Hate him. Although Ron Winter is he worst ref in the entire NFL, so I guess it could’ve been worse. I’d rather have Steratore, Carl Sheffers, or Guns Hochuli.

  8. This is typical behavior from the league, they always cover for their guys. Remember that Steelers vs Seahawks disaster? Even Leavy took responsibility and said how horrible he felt about the calls he blew, but the league simply said it was a well officiated game and didn’t even acknowledge that mistakes were made.

  9. “questforthesixthnotthelast2013 says:
    Jan 25, 2013 10:54 AM
    Vegas cares, gamblers care, teams care, and Nfl cares, i dont think im alone here!”

    If the officiating is screwy, then I’ll care, but I’m not gonna get bent out of shape because of a report on Yahoo! that cites unnamed sources.

  10. “…the officials themselves deserve some blame: They shouldn’t have voted to ratify their Collective Bargaining Agreement…”

    Yeah, but after the “fail Mary” everybody got their panties in a twist..

    Blame the replacements.

  11. autumnwind999 says:
    Jan 25, 2013 10:55 AM

    Wow. Boger and his crew are probably the worst in the NFL. I always cringe when I see this guy is doing a Raiders game.

    ————————————————

    I don’t know Boger’s style well enough to know whether he’s any good, but I can’t think of a single ref who actually is viewed as decent in the public’s eyes. One day people say Ed Hochuli is the worst, and the next it’s Mike Carey, then it’s Tony Corrente, then it’s Walt Anderson, and then Terry McAulay, followed by Jeff Tripplette, followed by Bill Vinovich. Honestly, who’s any good as a ref in the NFL?

  12. I think that the teams should be able to grade the officials every week. When there are serious issues, have the league and the RA take a look at it.

    That will keep the system honest.

  13. Maybe if the NFL had full-time professionals officiating (like all other sports do) we wouldn’t even be hearing about this

  14. He has done poorly all year and for as long as I can remember. I always dread the games he officiates for my team. Although I do enjoy his pronunciation

  15. His name is not Joey Crawford. That’s all that matter in a discussion of referees.

    “And it appears as though Crawford has purposefully blocked the Ravens’ field goal.” “Now he’s signalling a charge by Justin Tucker. Tucker is confused. Now it’s a technical against Justin Tucker.” “Colin Kaepernick appears very confused. He asks Crawford who has the ball, and Kaepernick is ejected! Touchdown San Fransisco!”

  16. Boger is a great ref, one of my favorites.

    He isn’t a ghost, but he doesn’t try to take the game over like a Mike Carey.

    He seems to call it down the middle, and not too much ticky-tack stuff at bad times.

    Generally he and his crews tend to let the players decides the game.

    Other refs sounds like they have sour grapes.

  17. Boger is an exceptionally bad ref. I have no doubt he’ll inject himself in some negative way into the game.

  18. Well all the officials stink, however Boger has officiated a couple of my favorite teams games and has made some terrible calls, even on some after looking at the replays…nobodys perfect, but when you see some of the out and out blatant misses and blown calls it gets a bit ridiculous. I wouldn’t have thought he’d be one of the Super Bowl officials myself.

  19. Fixing bad officiating would cost money.

    Fixing bad grades after the fact? Heck, that’s easy!

    It’s actually quite appropriate. The league chose to open the 2012 season with comically inept officiating…and it now appears that they’ll be ending the same way.

  20. This guy is the single worst official in the game, period. Every time I watch a game he is doing he makes mistakes, several stupid mistakes.

    Mike Carey and Gene Steratore are the 2 best in the business.

  21. The NFL does not have a lot to gain by using a ref in the Superbowl that will make the game less legitimate.

    Although, no one seems to want to remember how bad the Seahawks v Steelers superbowl was. That was horrendous, and yet people have forgotten what happened during the game, they only remember the result.

  22. I wish they would let the replacement officials from the Broncos/ Ravens play off game. I would like to see if they can officiate a game with out twenty minutes of delays.

  23. @southpaw2k

    That’s true but Boger is exceptionally bad. I guarantee he’ll inject himself in the game in a negative way.

  24. So, give the public the names of the people making these decisions. Nothing a little transparency shouldn’t take care of…

  25. Honestly… it’s not the “head official” I’m worried about.

    It’s the crew around him. The people that throw most of the flags. The people that have no clue what pass interference is, or what a helmet to helmet hit is, or what a false start is….

    Those are the guys that usually ruin a game. The crew around the head official.

    But I agree… it’s all a fix anyway.

  26. Super Bowl will be fixed…Goodell already knows which team will win…after watching Goodell hugging and laughing with Ray Lewis, I’m convinced Ravens will win Super Bowl despite 49ers being 4 pt favorites.

  27. Gee, is there no part of the game that hasn’t been damaged or questioned since Goodell took over as Commissioner? What was that about integrity and the shield again Roger? It’s all about the money with you and the owners. The fans deserve better, after all, we pay for your product.

  28. Here’s bad officiating and i’ve seen this called several times…and from my viewpoint it’s pretty black and white it has to be one or the other…but it’s this call:

    We have off setting penalties pass interference on the offense and pass interference on the defense involving the same individuals??? I mean come on that doesn’t make sense!

  29. What does it matter who the referee is? What really matters is what impact it will have on the pointspread/over-under. I’ve always wanted to do a study on what the outcomes are when certain referees are involved…

  30. Seems Goodell’s NFL loves changing things to comply with their WWF style agenda. If this sort of “fixing” happens at the referee level, then it can happen at the team level and game level as well. I guess in the end, we all need to just watch the NFL as TV entertainment and less a sport anymore.

  31. nflofficeadmin says: Jan 25, 2013 11:50 AM

    So, give the public the names of the people making these decisions. Nothing a little transparency shouldn’t take care of…

    ==============================================

    Great comment. And how about fining referees publicly for bad calls like players are publicly for certain plays. Call them out when they mess up. And enough of the ‘technically it was the right call’ explanations when it’s obviously a bad call.

  32. I never thought that Boger was a good referee. I’d put him down near the bottom of the list with Carl Cheffers. Those two with perhaps Ron Winter and Walt Coleman, to me, are just way behind the rest of the officials in the league. But that’s just me.

    Now I have no idea how all of these refs grade out. I’m just going by what I see during games and Boger to me, just isn’t one of the better refs in the league. So how exactly he was even considered for the Super Bowl is beyond me. I don’t even want to speculate because I don’t think that would be appropriate but I do agree with these other officials when they say that something fishy is going on.

    I would have liked to have seen Gene Steratore get the nod for the Super Bowl. He hasn’t done one yet and I think he’s deserving of one.

  33. Our football crowd loves games with Hochuli.

    Nantz: “He’s going with a Schwarzenegger… wait a minute, that’s a John Cena right there… I was confused there for a second.”

    Phil: “Geez, Jim, he caught me by surprise with that one. I thought he was going to go with the Hogan, but he pulled up into the Cena at the last minute…”

  34. Two silver linings at least:

    1) Jerome Boger speaks like “The Ladies Man” which makes every call (appopriate or no) hilarious.

    2) Mike Carey will not be able to ruin yet another football game.

  35. Tripplett’s the worst. So many calls RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM are so blatant it’s ridiculous. I’m not talking pass interference or other things that his crew calls 20 yards downfield – I’m talking holding calls where guys get tackled, and hands to the face where guys get their helmets ripped off. Sometimes I wonder what exactly it is he’s looking for.

  36. A lot of fans blame the referee as the “bad” one – the blame should go to the crew member who throws the flag. If the back judge throws a flag and calls pass interference, all the ref is doing is relaying that call, no matter how bad it is – the referee didn’t see that end of the play 40 yards downfield.

    That’s why the crews should be graded and sent to the playoffs as a unit. This installs an immediate check-and-balance within the crew. Right now, a side judge knows he can go to the playoffs if all his calls are good, regardless of what the field judge on his crew does. But if the crews are graded as a unit, that side judge will pull aside the field judge and say “Get your act together, or we won’t make the playoff list!”

  37. Last game I saw Boger ref, he picked up his own facemask flag because “there was no foul for facemask”. The replay then showed the tackler twisting and not letting go of the ball carrier’s facemask as he was tackled.

  38. jwreck says: Jan 25, 2013 11:20 AM

    His name is not Joey Crawford. That’s all that matter in a discussion of referees.

    “And it appears as though Crawford has purposefully blocked the Ravens’ field goal.” “Now he’s signalling a charge by Justin Tucker. Tucker is confused. Now it’s a technical against Justin Tucker.” “Colin Kaepernick appears very confused. He asks Crawford who has the ball, and Kaepernick is ejected! Touchdown San Fransisco!”
    ———————————————
    This comment should have 1,000 likes and 0 dislikes. Hilarious!

  39. Bring back Jerry Markbreit or Jim Tunney! I’d pay to have Ben Dreith again on the field.Loved Red Cashion, too…

  40. Bring back the replacement refs, especially those who asked for autographs and had Facebook fan pages of teams and players.

  41. The league on Goodell’s watch just moves from one scandal to the next. The League is losing integrity everyday. He has no leadership, instead is a petty despot who cuddles with Mara and rules by whim. The NFLPA will beat him 9 out of 10 times. Wake up, owners.

  42. If I recall correctly, I remember watching the Packers-49ers Divisional Playoff game and hearing Joe Buck state that Jerome Boger was the ref for that game and that he was “rumored” to be the referee for the Super Bowl as well. This was at the beginning of the game (probably first called penalty).

    Not saying any fix is in (though that may be the case) but this guy was already plugged in without any idea of how competant his performance would be for the GB-SF game? Sounds a bit fishy…

  43. does this mean one team will be handed the Super Bowl on a platter the way that the Steelers were when they played Seattle? btw–cowboys fan, not seahawks

  44. I can’t stand this guy. When I walk into the stadium and see him, I know we are in for a marathon game, with about a dozen holding calls. He bites, maybe the NFL just wants a longer game so they can wedge in more commercial time.

  45. “There is no merit to the suggestion that Jerome Boger’s grades were treated differently from those of any other official.”

    Taken literally that means that the league changes the grades of all of the officials.

  46. Is this the result of leveling the playing field? Were not enough black coaches hired so far this off-season?

    This story sounds familiar. A guy whose experience and performance don’t explain his rise to the top of his profession, as he was helped along the way with affirmative action, erased grades and locked transcripts.

  47. How ’bout we bring in the Fabulous Replacements from the Monday Night Fail Mary Fiasco as a great way to close out the season!

    It’s a touch-back-down-ception of some sort or another.

  48. This happens almost every year, and it’s a joke.

    1) As just a college and high school official myself of 17 years, working with a whole new crew in a Friday night game with kids is tough enough, better yet the biggest stage on Earth with guys you barely know or talk to all year.

    2) I have seen more than a few games done by Boger this year. He is by FAR not anywhere near the best head referee in the league, and I’m not really sure why he’s getting the nod….and there’s better minority candidates than him, if that’s the issue. The fact that he sounds like he’s got a mouth full of marbles and peanut butter at all times won’t help the NFL’s ratings selection process come Super Bowl Sunday either.

    Now where do I send the check to Goodell for using those 3 words?

  49. How many of you commenters have officiated ANYTHING, at any level? Give it a try, I promise it’s easy as pie.

  50. Clean up the corruption. Once a grade is established it should be next to impossible to change it. Grades should be based upon number of blown calls as the number one criteria. He with the least blown calls, is selected as ref for the POs and the SB. We don’t put losing teams in the POs, neither should we for Refs. Much of the reffing this year sucked not just bad, but really bad.

  51. According to Wikipedia, Boger will be only the second African American official to be assigned to the super bowl. Is race playing a part in the alleged grade changes? In other words is there an agenda to create diversity in the super bowl officiating crew?

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