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SUPER BOWL XXIII: CINCINNATI BENGALS vs. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS : Notebook : Super Bowl Officials Have 97 Years of Part-Time Experience on the Job

Times Staff Writer

When Commissioner Pete Rozelle named Sunday’s Super Bowl officials the other day, he announced that they are veterans with a total of 97 years of National Football League officiating experience.

What he meant is that they’ve had 97 years of moonlighting experience.

All of them hold full-time jobs in other fields, usually working Monday through Friday. Then during the season, they fly out Saturdays to officiate NFL games.

The league’s critics have lobbied unsuccessfully for many years to change this. They argue that the NFL is large enough to hire full-time officials, pointing out that baseball does.

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Instead:

--Jerry Seeman, the Super Bowl referee, is a full-time school administrator.

--Umpire Gordon Wells is the chairman of a physical education department.

--Head linesman Jerry Bergman is an executive director for pension funds.

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--Line judge Bob Beeks is a retired law enforcement officer.

--Back judge Paul Baetz is a financial consultant.

--Side judge Gary Lane is a divisional sales manager.

--Field judge Bobby Skelton is an industrial representative.

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--Alternate Gene Barth is the president of an oil company.

--Alternate Ed Fiffick is a physician.

The instant replay official, Chuck Heberling, was an NFL referee and line judge for 22 years.

Sam Wyche, the Cincinnati coach, has played the gutty little underdog’s role to the hilt this week, and right to the end Friday. At his last news conference before the game, he said:

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“We really don’t have a chance to win. This is a game where you’ve got to have two sides. They’ve already sold the tickets. They’ve already sold the ads. The TV people are in place.”

So the Bengals won’t disappoint anyone, the Bengals will show up, Wyche promised.

“There’s Goliath, and here come the little Davids,” he said. “We’ve got our slingshots, and we’re looking for the vulnerable spot.”

Bill Walsh, the San Francisco coach who, if he wins Sunday, plans to retire next week rather than try for a fourth Super Bowl win next year, gave four reasons Friday why nobody, including himself, can win 2 straight:

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--"You can’t figure on (good breaks and few injuries) 2 years in a row,” he said. “The year after (one 49er Super Bowl win) we had 9 of our 11 starters out on defense.

--"The effort and emotional commitment take a real toll on the next season because you’ve hardly recovered from the previous one, and you have to get right back into it.

--"Everybody points to you.

--"The teams you play have got a better idea of how you won the Super Bowl, strategically and tactically, so everybody is more prepared for you.”

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San Francisco flanker Jerry Rice has been playing hurt since Oct. 16, when Ram cornerback Jerry Gray slammed into him on a 49er pass play at Anaheim. Rice came out of the accident with a sprained ankle.

Gray wasn’t called for an illegal hit, but could have been, the 49ers said afterward.

Although Rice hasn’t missed a game, a sprained ankle doesn’t really heal for 6 months or so, NFL doctors advise.

“You just have to learn to play with it,” as 49er halfback Roger Craig said. “It’s going to stay sore.”

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Quote Dept.:

--Walsh on the Bay area critics whose barbs have influenced him to consider retirement: “There are a few people sitting right here in front of me (at a press conference) who told me a few weeks ago that I was outdated and the game had passed me by.”

--Wyche on living through a losing season: “You come home some nights, and you wonder if it’s all worth it. But I think everyone does that, no matter what their job is.”

--Boomer Esiason, Cincinnati quarterback, on teammate Anthony Munoz, the Pro Bowl blocker: “You can’t imagine the moves he has. If he were 4 inches shorter and 60 pounds lighter, he’d have my position here.”

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--Jim Finks, New Orleans general manager, on why the Saints have been voting to keep instant replay officiating: “No one wants to win or lose a game--well, let me say, no one wants to lose a game on a bad call.”

--Walsh on taking veteran linebacker Keena Turner off injured reserve: “Keena brings a calming influence to this team. He provides quiet leadership.”

--Eric Thomas, Cincinnati cornerback, on Rice’s speed: “You put (Bengal cornerbacks) me, Lewis Billups, Rickey Dixon and Daryl Smith against Jerry Rice in the 40-yard dash, and we’ll all beat him.”

--Anthony Munoz, Cincinnati blocker from USC, on the Bengals’ high-scoring team: “Just knowing you can go out and score points helps your attitude.”

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--Max Montoya, Cincinnati blocker from UCLA, on his biggest problem in Miami--the fact that every stranger speaks to him in Spanish: “I’m not fluent (in Spanish). I’m getting a real education.”

--Tim Krumrie, Cincinnati nose tackle, on his opponent Sunday, the undersized 49er center, Randy Cross: “He gets his body between you and the ballcarrier. He’s (good at) getting into your legs and rolling.”


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