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Home » News and Features » After Further Review » Beyond Ed Hochuli: Crash Course in NFL Referees

Beyond Ed Hochuli: Crash Course in NFL Referees

By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: September 27, 2012

You know who Ed Hochuli is. You’ve made jokes about his massive biceps or longwinded explanations (the man does love a good ramble). Good for you. Give yourself a pat on the back. But keep in mind that Hochuli hasn’t been the only official out of work the past three weeks. There’s a host of other officials anxious to get back on the field, and we at thought we’d give you a quick rundown of the guys you’ve always loved to hate. It’s more impressive if you can use a ref’s full name while berating him through your TV. 

Walt Anderson, joined the NFL in 1996 

Anderson began as a side judge before receiving a promotion to referee in 2003. He doesn’t have one particular call that makes him stand out (yet), but has called two Super Bowls, most recently  Super Bowl XLV between Green Bay and Pittsburgh. 

Mike Carey, 1990 

Other than Hochuli, Carey’s face might be most recognizable among referees; he is actually one of two senior referees in the NFL. Carey called Super Bowl XLII between New York and New England, the first African American to do so, and his judgment played a role in Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s miracle pass to receiver David Tyree. As Manning was hounded and attacked by Patriots defenders, an official could have called the play dead if he believed the quarterback was in the “grasp and control” of the defense. Carey refrained from throwing a flag, Manning escaped the defense and got off the 32-yarder to Tyree, and the rest is history. 

Tony Corrente, 1995 

Corrente missed a portion of the 2011 season to undergo radiation and chemotherapy to remove a cancerous tumor in his mouth, but was back on the field in the postseason to call the New Orleans-Detroit Wild Card game. 

Bill Leavy, 1995 

Leavy gained most notoriety when refereeing Super Bowl XL between Seattle and Pittsburgh. Seahawks fans most remember his calls in the fourth quarter that may have directly impacted the outcome. Leavy himself has admitted both error and feeling guilt for his performance in that game. 

Terry McAulay, 1998

McAulay works as both an official in the NFL as well as a coordinator of officials for the Big East conference in NCAA football. You may remember him from a 2000 incident in Cleveland. After Cleveland receiver Quincy Morgan caught a fourth quarter pass in a comeback effort against Jacksonville, Browns quarterback Tim Couch spiked the ball. McAulay then claimed to have whistled for a review prior to the spike and proceeded to assert that Morgan had not caught the ball. Browns fans responded by throwing objects, including plastic beer bottles, onto the field and in McAulay’s direction. McAulay’s call resulted in a 15-10 victory for Jacksonville. 

Pete Morelli, 1997

Morelli gained notoriety in the 2009 NFC Championship between Minnesota and New Orleans, as he failed to throw a flag when Saints defensive end Bobby McCray violated the “Tom Brady Rule” and hit Brett Favre low. There’s no way Morelli could have known he was potentially encouraging the Saints’ alleged bounty system, but the no-call is even more frustrating in retrospect. 

Gene Steratore, 2003

Steratore also calls Division I NCAA basketball games. Steratore officiated a Week 1 matchup between Detroit and Chicago in 2010 and became a household name after overturning what would have been a game-winning touchdown catch for Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, claiming he failed to maintain possession after the catch. The play (and subsequent call) has been a topic of discussion since. The NFL is a family business for the Steratores; both his brother Tony and father, Gene Sr., have had careers as NFL officials.


Jeff Triplette, 1996

Triplette, an NFL official since 1996, has twice struck players in the course of action. Most notably, his flag (then weighted with small metal ball bearings) struck Cleveland offensive tackle Orlando Brown in the eye. The injury would sideline Brown until the 2003 season. Flags are now weighted with a less heavy, corn-based substance.


Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @arahomik   

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Posts: 202
Reply #1 on : Thu September 27, 2012, 13:24:52
Good info, thanks Kim. Triplette is terrible. Just like the replacements.
Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 13:25:45 by Melissa