Norm Schachter

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    • Norm Schachter

      Posted on Tue, Oct. 05, 2004

      First Super Bowl Ref Norm Schachter Dies

      Associated Press

      LOS ANGELES - Norm Schachter, who refereed the first Super Bowl and the first "Monday Night Football" game, has died. He was 90.

      Schachter died Saturday at a convalescent home in San Pedro, according to his son, Bob.

      In his other career, Schachter wrote a dozen English and vocabulary textbooks and was a former superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

      The Brooklyn-born Schachter held a doctorate from Alfred University and was a high school coach and English teacher when he began refereeing local games in 1941 in Redlands.

      After serving with the Marines in World War II, he went back to teaching and coaching. In 1948, his basketball team at Washington High School won the Los Angeles city championship.

      Later, he became a high school principal and was an area superintendent for Los Angeles schools from 1971 to 1978.

      His National Football League career began in 1954 when then-Commissioner Bert Bell hired him at $100 a game with a guarantee of seven games.

      The weekend job went on to last 22 years. He officiated in 1967 at the first Super Bowl in the Los Angeles Coliseum, in which the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

      He headed a crew of six officials and six alternates - still a Super Bowl record.

      "Who knows? Maybe they thought we would all get struck by lightning or something," he told the Los Angeles Times in 1993. "I just didn't want them all to walk on the field at the same time. It might have scared somebody."

      He worked three Super Bowls and 11 conference championship games and was the referee in the first Monday night game in 1970.

      Schachter wrote or co-wrote several books about football. In 1981's "Close Calls: The Confessions of an NFL Referee," he offered NFL officials some advice: "Don't waste time second-guessing yourself - there will be millions who will do it for you."

      Schachter retired from the NFL after the 1976 Super Bowl but continued to work with the NFL. He edited the league rule book, helped write the officials' manual and wrote weekly exams for officiating crews.

      Schachter is survived by three sons and eight grandchildren.


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