The man known for using a piece of paper to decide professional football games will be back, front-and-center on Sunday.
That’s right, Gene Steratore will be the head official when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
Cowboys fans should remember Streatore as the guy who might have saved the team’s season - at the time - against Oakland on Dec. 17. The Cowboys were in desperate need of a first down late in the fourth quarter when, on fourth-and-inches, quarterback Dak Prescott kept the ball and seemed to get stopped at the line of scrimmage, short of the first down.
But thanks to a generous spot, it appeared as though Prescott got just enough to keep the drive alive. Just to make sure, Streatore literally pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and placed it between the nose of the ball and the yardstick. In theory, that would confirm that the ball was was short of the marker.
Steratore didn’t seem to think so, however, as he awarded Dallas a first down that extended the drive. The Cowboys went on to kick the game-winning field goal and a picked up a 20-17 road victory.
A week later, the Cowboys failed to take advantage of their good fortune, as they were eliminated from playoff contention by the Seattle Seahawks in an apathetic 21-12 loss at AT&T Stadium.
The full crew of Super Bowl officials:
- Referee: Gene Steratore
- Umpire: Roy Ellison
- Down judge: Jerry Bergman
- Line judge: Byron Boston
- Field judge: Tom Hill
- Side judge: Scott Edwards
- Back judge: Perry Paganelli
- Replay: Paul Weidner