Referee confidential: Inside the SB43 crew

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.