The NFL has named its officials for Super Bowl XLV, and normally that wouldn’t be such a big deal. But Walt Anderson, who will referee the Big Game for the first time after 15 seasons in stripes, is a dude who deserves mention for commitment to his craft. Anderson was a former dentist in Texas, a profession that he gave up in order to accept the call to the NFL (my emphasis added):
“My company (Anderson Dental in Sugar Land) was a big group practice, with 45 employees and 13 doctors,” he said. “I realized there was no way I could do justice to both, so I sold the practice. If I was going to have the opportunity to be an NFL referee, I wanted to do it in what I felt was the right way.”
The “right way” takes time and equipment. Some might try to scrape by with, say, a satellite dish, a few cable boxes and four VCRs; Anderson has four dishes, each linked to a TiVo hard-disc recorder, eight VCRs and a computer with video-editing capability.
“A lot of the guys kid Mike Pereira (the NFL’s director of officiating) that `Walt’s got better equipment than you do,’ ” Anderson said, laughing.
I always laugh when I hear about how NFL officials are “part-time,” because their weekly workload is a helluva lot more than 40 hours.
“It probably takes me a good eight to 10 hours between the TV tape and coaching tape to go through my own game,” Anderson said. “Between last week’s game and next week’s game, I’ve probably got 25 hours a week of film study. I also tape four to five other games every week and go through those games and pick up unusual plays that the crew can benefit from.”
That Chronicle piece is old, but worth a read if you’re interested in the life of an NFL official. Anderson is heading a so-called “all star” crew, meaning that the seven officials are the ones that pulled the best grades for their regular season assignments. Oh, and they haven’t worked together all season. This can only end well.