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Longtime NFL Referee, Two-Time Super Bowl Official Dead At 76

Athlon Sports 3/29/2023 Mitchell Forde
© Provided by Athlon Sports

Bill Leavy, who spent 20 seasons as an NFL official and who led the Super Bowl XL crew as the referee, died Tuesday, according to Football Zebras.

Leavy turned 76 on Saturday. No details have yet been reported about the cause of his passing.

Leavy retired following the 2014 season and proceeded to spend each of the past eight years in a supervising role with the officiating department.

After officiating 11 years in the Big West conference at the college level, Leavy transitioned to the NFL in 1995. He called Super Bowl XXXIV, during which the St. Louis Rams held off the Tennessee Titans in a thriller, as the back judge.

In 2001, Leavy was promoted to the referee position. He held that role for the Pittsburgh Steelers' win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, and he came under some criticism as a result. 

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said after the game, "We knew it was going to be tough going against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I didn’t know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts as well."

While Leavy, like all officials, might have garnered more public criticism than praise, several past and present NFL officials spoke highly of him to Football Zebras. That includes current referee Clete Blakeman, who said, "The man is irreplaceable in the world of football officiating.”

Our condolences go out to Leavy's loved ones.

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