Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Jan 2013

NFL Fixed Grades for Desired Super Bowl Ref

Well, this is a story. According to the ref-watching site FootballZebras.com, the NFL fixed performance grades for referee Jerome Boger in order to ensure that Boger would qualify to be the referee for Super Bowl XLVII. Boger was downgraded on eight games, which should disqualify him from officiating in the playoffs, but appealed and had all eight reversed. But here's a question: Why on earth would the NFL fix things so Jerome Boger is officiating the Super Bowl? What's special about Boger. I have no idea.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 20 Jan 2013

32 comments, Last at 04 Feb 2013, 12:23pm by Anon2345


by ima_pseudonym (not verified) :: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 2:19pm

Not sure if the professed ignorance for motivation was intended to be sarcastic, an attempt to simply stay out of a thorny issue, or genuine. But even a casual observer of NFL refs can't help but observe that most refs are white and Boger is black. Who knows for sure whether this really has anything to do with it, but absent any other official explanation one can only rely on appearances.

by Southern Philly :: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 2:24pm

If they wanted a black ref to have a black ref they could name Mike Carey and no one would think twice.

by DEW (not verified) :: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 3:25pm

*nod* I've always been as happy with Carey's officiating as I am with any official generally, though I don't know if that's supported by a statistical analysis of his crew.

by Deelron :: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 3:42pm

Pretty much, generally speaking I haven't ever really had a problem with Mike Carey and his crew.

by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 01/22/2013 - 6:17pm


Carey is pretty much the class of NFL referees in explanation, game management, and rulings.

I don't know Boger... any opinions?

by ima_pseudonym (not verified) :: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 4:03pm

Yup, Carey would have made much more sense if race were the only factor. Maybe Boger just got the league a good deal on their insurance (he's an underwriter in the offseason) and this is payback for that.

by energymike4 :: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 5:35pm

+1 Mike Carey is the ref I'm most happy to see when I have money on the line. His crew seems average, but he's exceptional.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 5:53pm

What's the situation these days?

Does the Super Bowl have officials who are best at their position, or the best crew?

I seem to recall that some years ago they made it the best crew because they were used to working together. Whereas bringing together the best at each position actually results in potentially worse overall teamwork.

by fantasy football indeed (not verified) :: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 7:35pm

I think they're doing all-stars this year, but in any case I seriously doubt that Boger's crew is above-average.

by fyo :: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 7:37pm

The playoffs this season feature "all star" crews. Previously, the best complete crews were chosen.

by somebody (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2013 - 11:35am

That was before they started fixing The super bowl and if you cant see this you arent looking...DAH!

by Spielman :: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 5:56pm

It's not like I keep track of officials from week to week, but I seem to recall watching multiple games this year where I thought Boger's crew were doing a pretty crappy job. Odd.

by Ryan D. :: Mon, 01/21/2013 - 9:07am

Boger and his entire crew were terrible during the Week 16 Raiders at Panthers game. The Panthers radio team even joked about it the following week during their opening, assuring fans that "the referee this week is NOT Jerome Boger."

by jonnyblazin :: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 11:49pm

I would say Ravens fans are happy that it isn't Mike Carey. Some questionable history there.

by Morton (not verified) :: Mon, 01/21/2013 - 12:21am

Hah! I was thinking the same thing. "He had malice in his heart" lives on in infamy.

by Podge (not verified) :: Mon, 01/21/2013 - 8:45am

The conclusion I draw from the last paragraph is that maybe they want Boger to replace Carl Johnson as head of officiating? And what better way to give some credibility to the appointment than by being able to bill him as "referee of this year's Super Bowl"?

by BlueStarDude :: Mon, 01/21/2013 - 11:29am

It should be Gene Steratore and probably his whole crew.

by Costa24 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/21/2013 - 2:09pm

On the topic of Mike Carey, note that he did the game in 2008. From what I recall, they try to spread the wealth in regards to giving refs the big game assignment. That was 5 years ago, so it might have been long enough not to matter anymore anyway, but take it for what it's worth.

by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 01/22/2013 - 6:18pm

This is probably a major point.

by MC2 :: Mon, 01/21/2013 - 10:26pm

Why on earth would the NFL fix things so Jerome Boger is officiating the Super Bowl?

They want the maximum number of people to have the privilege of listening to his extremely entertaining Southern drawl?

Forget Beyonce. The halftime show should feature Boger reading aloud from a phone book.

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 01/22/2013 - 12:53am

What exactly does it mean to be "downgraded" for a game? I'm struggling to think how a referee could be downgraded on over 50% of his games (he only refereed at most 14 games this year due to the strike) and still be refereeing at all, never mind refereeing the biggest game of the season. That makes me think I'm misunderstanding the term.

by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 01/22/2013 - 6:19pm

"how a referee could be downgraded on over 50% of his games (he only refereed at most 14 games this year due to the strike) and still be refereeing at all"

Collective bargaining?

by Jerry :: Tue, 01/22/2013 - 9:51pm

The league grades every play, so it could be one play that was downgraded in each game. The article makes that still seem like a lot, but the NFL isn't saying he was bad a majority of the time.

by somebody (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2013 - 11:39am

What is wrong with everyone ? Is everyone in denial? Come on...You say you cant figure it out... are you Blind...Rigged and fixed ....This game was so set up the only way you cant see it is if you are tapping a white stick on a public sidewalk to cross the street ..

by Theo :: Tue, 01/22/2013 - 8:39pm

That guy?!
Prepare for this:
"Pursol foul, fiteen yars penty."

by Ryan D. :: Wed, 01/23/2013 - 1:31pm

Thassa fawse staaht, off ense, numba elebm, fi yar penehty, re peat foth down

by Dean :: Wed, 01/23/2013 - 2:49pm

I was born and raised in the northeast, but when I think of how a referee should sound (which, come to think of it, is not a frequent occurance), the drawl is part of the imagery. To me, this is a plus, not a minus. But not a reason to pick him over a more highly rated official.

by Ryan D. :: Wed, 01/23/2013 - 4:10pm
by Anthony (not verified) :: Wed, 01/23/2013 - 1:48am

I love Super Bowl and will never miss the game every year so i have got my discount Super Bowl tickets from GoodSeatTickets.com

by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 01/23/2013 - 2:07am

You're spamming the wrong site. Will Allen knows people who know Mike Tice, so we're already sorted. Thanks though!

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 7:03am

At all sounds like standard modern day corporate business ... pretending to have an objective rating system to decide who gets the bonus ... then subjectively rating to give your favourites a reward. Disappointing because sports is meant to be a meritocracy.

by Anon2345 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2013 - 12:23pm

after last night i think we may have our answer. he was in perfect view of a pass interference and didnt call it