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Scott Green (American football official)

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Scott H. Green[1]
Scott H Green.jpg
Born (1951-02-20) February 20, 1951 (age 65)
Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Education University of Delaware (B.A. '73)[2]
Occupation NFL official, public safety consultant
Years active 1991-2013 (as NFL official);
Since 1994 (as contractor)
Known for U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee staff member (1985–90)
Referee for 2010 Super Bowl
Home town Potomac Falls, Virginia

Scott H. Green is a former American football official in the National Football League (NFL) from the 1991 NFL season until the 2013 NFL season. He had officiated Super Bowls XXXVI in 2002, XXXVIII in 2004, and was the referee for XLIV in 2010.[3] Green was also the head of the NFL Referees Association and led negotiations during the 2012 NFL referee lockout.[4]

Outside of his part-time work in professional football, Green works as a Washington, D.C. contractor for public safety and criminal justice agencies as part of a firm he co-founded in 1994.[1] Green announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2013 football season.


Green is a 1969 graduate of Central Bucks High School in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where he was a linebacker and kicker.[5] He is a 1973 graduate of the University of Delaware, where he received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.[2] Prior to his NFL career, from 1985 to 1990 Green was a Judiciary Committee staff person under then-Senator Joe Biden. In 1994,[1] Green, a resident of Potomac Falls, Virginia,[5] co-founded the Lafayette Group with Charles B. DeWitt, a Washington, D.C., government contractor that focuses on public safety and emergency management;[2] as of 2014 the firm employs 90 people.[1]

Officiating career[edit]

Green started in the NFL as a field judge with the start of the 1991 NFL season before switching to back judge after the league swapped position titles at the start of the 1998 NFL season. Green worked Super Bowl XXXVI on February 3, 2002 as a back judge, Super Bowl XXXVIII on February 1, 2004 also as a back judge, and Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 as referee. His last assignment was the Pro Bowl on January 26, 2014 in Honolulu as referee.

Green wore uniform number 19.[6]

Giants - 49ers playoff game[edit]

Considered by some[7] to be the top back judge in the league, Green was involved in a controversial finish to a New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers Wild Card playoff game played January 5, 2003 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Green and the officials apparently forgot that New York's Rich Seubert, a guard who had lined up legally in a receiver's spot, was an eligible receiver. Seubert appeared to be interfered by a San Francisco defender on a botched field goal attempt while going downfield to receive a pass. Since Green was the downfield official, this was his play to cover, but had to scramble from the goalpost to get into position to cover the play. Green, not knowing that Seubert was eligible, did not throw a flag to signify the penalty. Instead, the Giants were called for having an illegal man downfield on the play. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue described the situation as the most disappointing officiating blunder he'd seen in his years as NFL commissioner[8] and announced that officiating mechanics surrounding field-goal attempts and last plays of games would be changed.[7]

Promotion to referee[edit]

He became a referee on a part-time basis during the 2004 NFL season when referee Johnny Grier was injured. Green became a full-time referee at the start of the 2005 NFL season after Grier was forced to retire due to a leg injury. Green's first experience as an NFL referee came on October 3, 2004 during a game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills.

Green's 2013 NFL officiating crew consisted of umpire Bruce Stritesky, head linesman Tom Stabile, line judge Mike Spanier, field judge Boris Cheek, side judge Larry Rose, and back judge Scott Helverson.[9]

Chargers - Steelers game[edit]

Green was involved in another controversial finish during a game he was officiating between the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers on November 16, 2008 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. With Pittsburgh leading San Diego 11-10 and only five seconds left in the game with the Chargers on their own twenty yard line, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers completed a short dump pass to running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who shoveled it back to wide receiver Chris Chambers in a desperation attempt to keep the play alive with a series of pitches. Chambers promptly attempted a seemingly legal lateral that was batted down and recovered by the Steelers' Troy Polamalu, who took it into the end zone for a touchdown that would have ended the game with the Steelers ahead by eight points. Upon review by Green and his crew, however, one of the laterals involved in the play (Green was ambiguous as to which one) was deemed an illegal forward pass and ruled dead, officially ending the game in an 11-10 Steelers victory. While this had no bearing on the official outcome of the game, the dubious call led many fans and commentators to question the call as the game's betting line had the Steelers favored by 512 points, meaning the botched call caused all bets placed on the Steelers to be losing ones.[10] Green himself conceded that he and his crew made the wrong call following the game.[11] The incident has prompted the NFL to discuss "potential administrative improvements for replay that would help to prevent this type of mistake in the future."[10] Green's officiating in the game was also controversial for the imbalance in penalties called by Green and his crew (13 penalties for 115 yards on the Steelers; 1 penalty for 5 yards against the Chargers).[12]

Packers - Cardinals game[edit]

Green was involved in a third controversial finish, this time during overtime of a playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the Arizona Cardinals on January 10, 2010 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. On the winning play, Cardinals cornerback Michael Adams forced a fumble from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, which then bounced off Rodgers' foot (never touching the ground) before it was picked up by Arizona's Karlos Dansby for a touchdown. Adams seemed to have a hold of Rodgers' facemask during the play, but Green did not call any penalty.[13][14][15]

Sports Illustrated writer Peter King offered a possible explanation for why Green may have not seen the facemask:

[He has] the responsibility of watching plays involving the quarterback. Once the ball has been dislodged, Green has to watch the ball, not the contact on the quarterback. He has to see if the ball hits the ground and judge if it's a forward pass or a fumble, then he has to follow the live ball until the end of the play. So Green could not – at least, he should not – have seen the contact on the mask of Rodgers.[14]

Another question about the facemask was whether it was indeed flagrant or incidental. The 5-yard facemask penalty was eliminated prior to the 2008 season, making an incidental facemask a legal play.[16] Thus, it left officials only with a strictly judgment call as to whether it was worthy of a 15-yard personal foul penalty or not.[15][17] When asked about the play, Bill Carollo, former NFL referee and current Director of Officiating for the Big Ten Conference, stated that he felt that the 15-yard face mask foul could have been called, or at least an unnecessary roughness penalty.[18] However, Mike Pereira, the NFL's Supervisor of Officials, said that it was indeed an incidental facemask (and thus no foul) since there was never a significant pull or twist to warrant the 15-yard penalty.[19]

Vikings - Packers game[edit]

On October 24, 2010, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Scott Green was again involved in controversial calls that helped the Packers win the game. "That's the worst officiated game I've seen," said Childress, whose team fell to 2-4 after losing four games in the entire 2009 regular season. "That referee came over and apologized to me for not calling a hold on the scramble by [Packers quarterback Aaron] Rodgers. And I'll tell you what, that's his job. Protect the quarterback and look at the left tackle. Look at the left tackle hold his tail off."

What set Childress off was Green's reversal of a 17-yard touchdown in the second quarter on what appeared to be a nice diving catch by tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. The drive stalled and the Vikings ended up getting a 28-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell, meaning four extremely valuable points were taken off the board.[20]

Cardinals - Seahawks game[edit]

On December 22, 2013 in Seattle, another controversial call was made at the end of the game. Down 17-10 with 1:56 left in the fourth quarter, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass to Doug Baldwin, which then deflected off of his arm and into the hands of Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby. The ball seemed to appear to hit the ground slightly before bouncing off Baldwin's arm, but under review Green felt that there was not enough indisputable evidence to overturn the call to an incomplete pass. Arizona went on to run out the clock and win the game.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d "Lafayette Group:Our Company". Lafayette Group. 
  2. ^ a b c "UD alum named referee for Super Bowl". University of Delaware. February 3, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  3. ^ "Officiating crew chosen to work Super Bowl XLIV; Green is referee". Associated Press. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
  4. ^ Simpson, Ian. "NFL referee chief Green no stranger to tough talks". Reuters. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Doylestown native refereeing Super Bowl". Bucks County Courier Times. February 7, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  6. ^ "Scott Green, REF for the Referees at". NFL. Retrieved 2014-07-01. 
  7. ^ a b Attner, Paul (2003-01-20). "Taking the fall for one bad call - NFL: insider - football officiating mistake". The Sporting News. Retrieved 2006-08-29. 
  8. ^ King, Peter (2003-01-14). "They're Only Human". Retrieved 2006-08-29. 
  9. ^ 2013 NFL officiating crews
  10. ^ a b "NFL referee's mistake spreads joy and anger". Newsday. 2008-11-18. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  11. ^ "Steelers beat Chargers in first 11-10 game". San Jose Mercury News. 2008-11-17. Retrieved 2008-11-08. [dead link]
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Did missed face mask cost the Packers?". ESPN. Retrieved 2010-01-11. On the final play of the game, Cardinals cornerback Michael Adams seems to have a hold of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' facemask. Rodgers fumbled the ball, and it was returned 17 yards by Karlos Dansby for a touchdown. 
  14. ^ a b "Warner's career day in the game of the season caps wild-card weekend". 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  15. ^ a b "Rodgers' foot got in way of possible replay for Packers". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  16. ^ "Proposal to reseed playoff teams withdrawn by owners". 2008-04-02. Retrieved 2010-01-12. The 5-yard penalty for incidental contact with a facemask has been eliminated, with the 15-yarder remaining for any grasping or twisting of the facemask 
  17. ^ "NFL News Feed - Was call missed on winning play?". Washington Post. 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  18. ^ "Carollo: 'He did get him in the facemask'". 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  19. ^ Official Review: Should a face-mask penalty have been called at the end of the Packers-Cardinals game?. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  20. ^ "Vikings Bad Mood Rising After Game". Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  21. ^ "Cards End Seattle's Home Streak". ESPN. Retrieved 23 December 2013.