February 8, 1963|
NFL official (2003–present)|
NCAA basketball official (1995–present)
Gene Steratore (born February 8, 1963) is an American football official in the National Football League (NFL) since 2003. He entered the league as a field judge and was promoted to referee at the start of the 2006 season, one of two new referees (Jerome Boger the other) for that season, following the retirements of Bernie Kukar and Tom White. He wears uniform number 114. Steratore is currently one of two NFL referees (Bill Vinovich is the other) who also officiate National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men's basketball games, which he has done since 1997. He was chosen to be the alternate referee of Super Bowl XLIV, which was held in Miami on February 7, 2010.
National Football League
Steratore took over briefly as referee during a regular-season game on December 28, 2003, between the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants after Bernie Kukar, the crew chief, was injured during a play in which he was hit in the back by the Giants' Clarence LeBlanc after a blocked punt.
Steratore's 2016 NFL officiating crew consists of umpire Roy Ellison, head linesman Ed Walker, line judge Gary Arthur, field judge Mike Weatherford, side judge Bob Waggoner, and back judge Dino Paganelli.
Steratore worked his first NFL playoff game as a referee between the Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers on January 10, 2009, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Exactly one year later, he refereed the Baltimore Ravens' 33–14 victory over the New England Patriots in an American Football Conference (AFC) Wild Card match at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Steratore was involved in a controversial instant replay call during week 1 of the 2010 NFL season between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago. Late in the fourth quarter, Lions receiver Calvin Johnson caught what was originally ruled as the winning touchdown for Detroit. However, Steratore conferred with the officials and overturned the call to an incomplete pass, ruling that Johnson lost control of the ball while going to the ground before he "completed the process of completing the catch". The play was reviewed, but was upheld. The rule applied in this situation states, "If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone." Despite speculation that the Calvin Johnson ruling was incorrect, Steratore was supported by the NFL and backed by its former vice president of officiating, Mike Pereira, on Fox Sports. The rule has since been referred to as the "Calvin Johnson rule".
Steratore was selected as the first referee to officiate a game following the 2012 NFL referee lockout on September 27, 2012, a Thursday-night contest between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. The Baltimore crowd cheered Steratore and his crew as they entered the field.
Steratore was also the referee during the Divisional Playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers on January 11, 2015, when a controversial fourth-quarter, fourth-down catch by Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was overturned using the "Calvin Johnson rule". On the play, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw the ball towards Bryant, who was initially ruled to have caught the ball at the Green Bay 1-yard line. The Packers challenged the call and after review, it was determined that the ball touched the ground before Bryant completed the catch.
Steratore is also a college basketball referee, mainly working in the Northeast. He has officiated in the Big Ten Conference, Big East Conference, and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and the Colonial Athletic Association.
Steratore lives in his native Pittsburgh suburb of Washington, Pennsylvania. Gene has an older brother, Tony, also an NFL official, who is a back judge currently assigned to Jerome Boger's officiating crew. His father, Gene Steratore, Sr., was a college football official and basketball referee.
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