Who Is Bill Vinovich? A Closer Look at Super Bowl 58’s Head Referee

Outside of the star power on the field and in the suites come Sunday, fans will also be glued to another central figure of Super Bowl 58: the head official.

All eyes and cameras aren’t just going to be dialed in on Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Brock Purdy, or Christian McCaffrey come Sunday’s Super Bowl or even the moment when Taylor Swift makes her anticipated entrance in Las Vegas.

Viewers and fans are additionally hoping for a cleanly officiated game and will be watchful of that. And that’s where Bill Vinovich comes in.

Bill Vinovich Is Head Referee of Super Bowl 58

Vinovich gets the task of calling this game and leading the crew of officials at Allegiant Stadium.

He’s a veteran referee of 25 seasons in the NFL. He’s also served as a college basketball referee. But his NFL officiating career started in 2001.

The 63-year-old is a former football player himself. He played at the University of San Diego and graduated magna cum laude in 1983, where he obtained a business administration degree. Instead of pursuing a professional sports career, he picked up the whistle and white hat instead.

Outside of the NFL, Vinovich was a referee in college football by officiating Mountain West Conference contests.

If the name rings a bell, more so for fans of the New Orleans Saints, he was the man behind the highly controversial non-pass interference call in the 2018 NFC title game — which saw former Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman make contact, including of the helmet-to-helmet variety, on Tommylee Lewis. Vinovich, however, waved off the flag after debating whether Robey-Coleman had committed defensive pass interference.

This Won’t Be the First Super Bowl for Vinovich

Vinovich is no stranger to the big game.

He officiated Super Bowl 49 at Glendale, Arizona, between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, meaning he witnessed Malcolm Butler’s memorable goal-line interception. Before that contest, he was listed as an alternate referee for Super Bowl 47 between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

He’s also very familiar with both teams playing on this stage. After all, he was the head line judge for the last Kansas City Chiefs and 49ers meeting down in Miami in February 2020, which saw the Chiefs emerge victorious, 31-20.

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Two years after that contest, Vinovich was named an alternate for Super Bowl 56 between the Cincinnati Bengals and Rams, which was won by the latter, 23-20.

Vinovich was named the head official by the NFL on Jan. 23.

Vinovich Part of “Trend” Ahead of Big Game

Vinovich has become a part of a tight circle of Super Bowl referees over the last five years.

He’s one of three names who have called the big game — joining Carl Cheffers and Ron Torbert, the latter only calling one Super Bowl.

Despite the call he made in that 2018 NFC title game, Vinovich has called relatively clean games this season…which should be convincing enough for the fans hoping for a controversy-free game.

Vinovich’s games have averaged a total of 11.34 penalty markers thrown this season. And his last game — the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Divisional Round battle — saw a modest eight penalties assessed for a total of 50 yards.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!


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