The 49ers' biggest game in 14 years will be policed by perhaps the most recognizable referee in the game, Ed Hochuli. It's the first time this season that the 49ers have drawn Hochuli, who will have an all-star crew for the championship game.
Hochuli used to have a reputation for calling a lot of penalties, and the tongue-and-cheek explanation was that he wanted to get plenty of airtime for his impressive guns (biceps). This year, however, Hochuli and his crew have been rather unassuming. According to officiating stats at FOX.com, Hochuli's crew ranked 14th in penalty yards per game among regular officiating crews. Again, Hochuli will have an all-star crew, not his regular crew, for Sunday's game.
According to the site, www.footballzebras.com, John Parry will be the referee for the Super Bowl. Parry was the referee in the 49ers Thanksgiving game in Baltimore, which included game-changing and controversial chop-block and pass interference penalties that went against the 49ers. The Super Bowl potentially could be a rematch of that game.
Parry also was the referee in Saturday's epic 49ers-Saints game. The Saints were called for only one penalty, for illegal block above the waist during a punt return, which was declined because the 49ers recovered a fumble on the play. The 49ers had three penalties for 33 yards.
In my humble opinion, however, Parry's crew did a very good job and mostly kept their hankies in their pockets, which meshed with the 49ers' physical style of play. The non-call on Donte Whitner's helmet-to-helmet collision with Pierre Thomas was the correct call, but it's one in which you could easily see an overzealous crew (I'm looking at you, Bill Leavy) getting it wrong.
-- Matt Barrows