Carl Cheffers to lead officiating crew

Carl Cheffers will lead his third Super Bowl officiating crew. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

Carl Cheffers will be the referee for Super Bowl LVII in Arizona this year, the NFL announced Tuesday.

This will be Cheffers’s third Super Bowl appearance after he officiated Super Bowl LV in 2021 and Super Bowl LI in 2017. The 62-year-old previously refereed the AFC divisional round game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills.

Cheffers, who’s officiated for 23 years and been a referee for 15, will be joined by seven other officials, four of which has previous Super Bowl experience.

Cheffers is most famously known for leading the staff that threw eight first-half penalty flags against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021 which set a Super Bowl record of 95 penalty yards in the first half and six first downs via penalty. The Chiefs lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tom Brady’s first season away from the New England Patriots. Fifteen total penalties were called in that game.

Thirteen penalties were called in Super Bowl LI between the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons by Cheffers’s crew.

In 17 games this season, Cheffers’s crews called 214 penalties for 1,869 yards, according to NFLpenalties.com and profootballreference.com, which averaged to about 14.35 per game. Those total numbers ranked No. 1 among all referees in 2022, according to NFLpenalties.com, whereas his average tied for second in the league. Cheffers mostly called false starts and offensive holding penalties, but also called defensive pass interference 17 times and unnecessary roughness 13 times, which ranked third for both.

One of the biggest concerns this year has revolved around roughing-the-passer penalties, but Cheffers called only six in 2022, which ranked sixth among his peers. There were multiple controversial calls throughout the season, including a ridiculous one against the New York Giants in the NFC wild-card matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.

Super Bowl officiating crew has some firsts and lasts

Cheffers’s crew has a few veterans and two first-time Super Bowl officials.

Line judge Jeff Bergman is the most tenured official to work a Super Bowl and plans to retire after 30 seasons in the league. Side judge Eugene Hall will be officiating his third Super Bowl in five seasons – the most in that timespan since Tom Sifferman, according to Football Zebras. Umpire Roy Ellison and back judge Dino Paganelli and will also be a part of his third Super Bowl team. Hall and Paganelli were both on Cheffers’s staff in 2021.

As for the firsts, down judge Jerrod Phillips will become the first citizen of the Cherokee Nation to be assigned to a Super Bowl, according to Football Zebras. Field judge John Jenkins will also be working his first Super Bowl after nine years in the league.