Jerry Markbreit

One of the most recognizable former NFL referees.

Jerry Markbreit’s key accomplishments include:

  • NFL official for 23 seasons, retiring in 1998.
  • Promoted from line judge to head referee in just his second year.
  • Wrote three books on officiating: Last Call: Memoirs of an NFL Referee; The Armchair Referee: 500 Questions and Answers about Football; and Born to Referee: My Life on the Gridiron.
  • Officiated Super Bowl XVII, Super Bowl XXI, Super Bowl XXVI and Super Bowl XXIX.
  • Officiated eight conference championships.
  • College football official in the Big Ten Conference.
  • Worked the Rose Bowl and six Ohio State/Michigan games.
  • Received the Gold Whistle Award, officiating’s highest honor, in 2007.

More about Jerry Markbreit:

Markbreit worked for 3M Company for 38 years. Prior to his retirement, he held a position unique in the business world: trade and barter manager. He daily negotiated and traded millions of dollars of advertising, media time, materials, etc., with businesses throughout the world.

In addition to writing three books, Markbreit wrote a weekly football column for the Chicago Sun Times for several years while working college football. His 1988 autobiography, Born to Referee, remains the single most popular officiating biography ever published.

He served as an assistant supervisor and trainer in the NFL office and now focuses his time on training collegiate officials in the Big Ten, Mid-American and Missouri Valley conferences.

Jerry Markbreit appeared in a feature article in the August 2007 issue of Referee Magazine.

What people have said about Jerry Markbreit:

“In how many years it’s been for the NFL, there have been probably three referees that stood out in the different ages and Jerry Markbreit is certainly one of those. There certainly has been no one with any greater influence on my career than Jerry Markbreit. I couldn’t speak enough of what I think about him as a referee and, even more importantly, as an individual. I think Jerry is just a wonderful human being and I am both proud and honored to count him as a friend. He has been a tremendous mentor to me.”

— Ed Hochuli

NFL referee


“He was one of the best that we ever had.”

— Officiating great Jim Tunney


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