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Posted On Friday, 18 February 2022 05:38 Written by
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Super Bowl XVI (56) took place on February 13, 2022, just 50 years and a little more than one month after I had the pleasure of being the referee in Super Bowl VI (6). Oh my gosh – a full ½ century has gone by. Many social and other media are bringing that history to the forefront. May I?

The phone call from the Supervisor of NFL officials, Art McNally, came about 10:30 AM Pacific Time with his words still ringing in my ears: “You got it!!” I didn’t want to guess what “it” meant so I countered with “Got what?” McNally continued “You are assigned as Referee in Super Bowl VI to be played January 9, 1972, in New Orleans.” Then he said, “You need to be in New Orleans on Wednesday, January 8th” at a hotel (which is no longer there) across the street from the Superdome, which hadn’t been built yet!

Further, McNally said, “You can’t tell anyone outside your family! Commissioner Pete Rozelle will announce the officials at his Friday press conference which you cannot attend!”

It was an exciting week. I had been an NFL Field Judge since 1960 moving to the Referee position in 1967 so receiving the Super Bowl assignment coincided with my time in that position. It was an exacting week albeit confidential.

Crew meetings took place in New Orleans the balance of the week. We did not view or inspect Tulane Stadium, where Super Bowl VI was scheduled to be played. The crew was a good one with some officials who had come through the ranks in the AFL/NFL merger that had only taken place a couple of years earlier.

As we departed from our rental cars in the parking lot of Tulane Stadium on Sunday, January 9th, the view was unlike what the Super Bowl LVI crew will face walking into the SoFi Stadium today. Tulane Stadium was packed to its capacity of 30,000! I had officiated Saints games several times in my career, so I knew what I was facing — grass field tore up with many areas just dirt and no crowds in the parking lot prior to game time. The two combatants were the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins – both of whom were there for the first time.

Roger Staubach guided the ‘Boys to a 24-3 victory over the Bob Griese-led Dolphins. Perhaps for me and our crew, the cold weather was a factor with the temperature at 29 degrees at kickoff. Al Hirt, the renowned New Orleans trumpeter tossed the coin. He had our crew as his guests for dinner that night in The French Quarter!

One congratulatory note:  I have just been informed that Art McNally, father of modern NFL officiating, is the first official in the Pro Football Hall of Fame!

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