Clete BlakemanPosted: January 8, 2014
Clete Blakeman is an Omaha attorney and an NFL referee. I met Clete many years ago and thought him to be a funny and intelligent guy.
Now I hear a prediction that he will one day be among the greatest in his profession.
Fox Sports 1’s Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former Director of Officiating, stated this today–and Mike wasn’t talking about Clete’s day job. He was talking about Clete one day being mentioned in the same breath as Jim Tunney and Ed Hochuli. That’s rare air indeed.
I view officiating as I do voting: If one hasn’t done it, one’s credibility about those topics is limited. I officiated intramural basketball for one year during college, and I found it exceptionally difficult. Having players glaring at you for 45 straight minutes isn’t particularly edifying either.
(I once administered a technical foul against a friend after he yelled unpleasantries in my general direction after an admittedly dubious call. My officiating approach included a warning before games that all communication to me should be through a team captain and that I would “T” up anyone who otherwise spoke ill toward me. A little harsh? Yes, but it brought some order to an otherwise chaotic affair, and all players knew up front what to expect. In that sense, I suppose officiating is akin to parenting.)
So keep your eyes on the NFL playoffs and look for Clete Blakeman (#34) in Black And White. Here’s Clete during a little run-in with Tom Brady followed by my all-time favorite referee call.