NFC West: Keith Ferguson
- Leavy and line judge Mark Perlman are the only holdovers from the crew that ticked off the Seahawks so badly with its officiating in Super Bowl XL following the 2005 season. The chart shows Leavy's crew for the Super Bowl and his crew for the Cincinnati-Cleveland game he worked in Week 1 this season.
- Given the fallout over officiating in the Super Bowl, the league had no good reason for assigning Leavy to another Seahawks-Steelers game. Leavy has worked a Seattle game subsequently and it's only fair for every team to draw from the same group of referees. But why this game? This had to reflect an oversight at the officiating office, one the league couldn't very well undo once news of Leavy's assignment got out.
- Leavy himself made two of the calls against Seattle in the Super Bowl. He called holding against tackle Sean Locklear, a call for which he apologized even though the officiating office did not grade him down for this specific call. Leavy also made the obviously incorrect call against quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for a low block.
- Perlman, as line judge, made the call allowing Ben Roethlisberger's 1-yard touchdown run. The Seahawks felt as though Roethlisberger did not score on the play. Perlman will be serving in the same capacity Sunday if Leavy brings his Week 1 crew to Pittsburgh.
- The back judge in the Super Bowl, Bob Waggoner, made the call for offensive interference against Seahawks receiver Darrell Jackson, negating a touchown that would have given Seattle a 7-0 lead.
- Leavy met with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and staff last season at team headquarters, delivering an annual officiating presentation. Officials brief reporters separately during these visits to training camps. Leavy apologized for Super Bowl officiating errors during the media session.
- Cornerback Marcus Trufant and linebacker Leroy Hill are the only current Seattle players who were on the roster for the Super Bowl. This would be a much bigger deal if Mike Holmgren were still coaching the Seahawks. Carroll has less reason to care.
The differentiation between Leavy's Super Bowl crew and his likely crew for Week 2 seemed important. Leavy's assignment to the game Sunday struck a nerve with some fans I've heard from. I'd call it an honest oversight strengthening perceptions among West Coast teams that the NFL isn't particularly sensitive to their concerns on such matters.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
TAMPA, Fla. -- We can more fully analyze officiating for Super Bowl XLIII now that the NFL has announced which officials will comprise referee Terry McAulay's crew Sunday.
The seven on-field officials and replay assistant Bob McGrath come from five crews. That leaves 12 crews unrepresented.
McAulay, first-year referee Al Riveron and veteran referee Bill Leavy each placed two of their crew members in Super Bowl XLIII.
From the NFL: McAulay, who is concluding his 11th season as an NFL game official, served as the referee in Super Bowl XXXIX. The Louisiana State alum has officiated in nine playoff games -- one Super Bowl, five NFL championship games, two divisional playoffs and one wild-card game.
Under the NFL officiating program's evaluation system, the highest-rated officials at each position with the appropriate experience earn the right to work the Super Bowl. Super Bowl officials must have five years of NFL experience and previous playoff assignments.
This crew should have good chemistry. McAulay and side judge Michael Banks have worked together for years. Field judge Greg Gautreaux worked with McAulay for years until joining referee Gene Steratore's crew this season. Head linesman Derick Bowers and back judge Keith Ferguson worked on referee Bill Vinovich's crew before Vinovich retired.
We provided information on McAulay upon learning of his Super Bowl assignment last week. As for McGrath, the replay official, he challenged two calls during the final 2 minutes of halves during the regular season. The league average was 4.8, with four of the 17 replay officials initiating nearly half of booth challenges (41 of 86).
McAulay's crew officiated the AFC divisional playoff game between the Titans and Ravens. The game featured a controversial non-call by the back judge after Baltimore failed to snap the ball before the play clock expired on a critical third-down play. Leavy's crew will supply the back judge for Super Bowl XLIII.
Perlman, the line judge, is the only Super Bowl XLIII official to work the Steelers' most recent Super Bowl appearance, after the 2005 season. To my knowledge, Perlman was not directly involved in the controversial calls associated with that game.