Armen Terzian

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Armen Terzian (1915—1989) was a U.S. American football official in the NFL from 1961 to 1981. He was a field judge and wore uniform number 23, which was later worn by two African-American referees: Johnny Grier and, currently, Jerome Boger. He officiated Super Bowl XI, but Terzian is most remembered from an NFC Divisional Playoff game in 1975 at Metropolitan Stadium between the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys, in which he didn't call an offensive pass interference penalty against Cowboy wide receiver Drew Pearson after there was contact between him and Viking cornerback Nate Wright, who fell. Minutes after Pearson scored the winning touchdown in the final seconds, an angry fan threw a whiskey bottle that hit Terzian in the back of the head, rendering him momentarily unconscious. He did not require stitches, but had to wear a large white bandage around his forehead for the final few seconds remaining in the game. According to Jerry Bergman, one of the officials working the game, said "The substitute official came in after the kickoff and got $5,500 for working 11 seconds." [1]

Terzian also became infamous by an NFL Films video that highlighted the league's best-ever coaches in 1981. During a segment that features coaches wired for sound, Marv Levy, then coaching the Kansas City Chiefs, screams, "Hey Armen! Hey you over-officious jerk!" at Terzian during a game against the Buffalo Bills in 1978. The game was played at Rich Stadium, the same stadium where Levy would go on to a Pro Football Hall of Fame career as the Bills' coach from 1986–97, leading the once woebegone Bills to four consecutive (losing) Super Bowl appearances.

Another non-call ended Armen Terzian's career in the NFL, this time as a replay booth official in a 1988 game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. Terzian failed to review a play where the on-field officials had erroneously awarded a safety to the New York Giants. Terzian's mistake provided the margin of victory, as the Giants defeated the Cowboys by a score of 12-10. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle suspended Terzian for two games following the error, but Terzian chose to resign.

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