Lawyer Referee

Clete Blakeman

Quick Facts

IntroAmerican football official
Is Referee
From United States of America
Type Law
Birth 23 June 1964, Blair, USA
Age56 years
Star signCancer
Sports Teams
Nebraska Cornhuskers football


Cletus W. Blakeman (born June 23, 1964) is an American football official in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Outside of his work as an NFL official, he is a partner in the law firm of Carlson & Burnett in Omaha, Nebraska. His uniform number is 34.

Blakeman began his American football officiating career in the Big 12 Conference, moving to the NFL in 2008 as a field judge for the first two seasons of his pro football officiating career, and subsequently refereeing for the 2010 NFL season, after Don Carey returned to the back judge position.

Selected in 2013 as the alternate referee for Super Bowl XLVIII, Blakeman officiated Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

College football career

Blakeman attended the University of Nebraska from 1984 to 1987, serving primarily as a backup quarterback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, including the 1986 and 1987 seasons behind starter Steve Taylor.

During Nebraska’s game against the unranked Colorado Buffaloes on October 25, 1986, head coach Tom Osborne replaced Taylor with Blakeman in the fourth quarter. Colorado still limited Blakeman to 4 out of 6 completions for 37 yards, and held on to upset the Huskers, 20–10, their first win over Nebraska since 1967 and the Buffaloes’ first win over Nebraska at home since 1960.

On October 3, 1987, South Carolina was leading Nebraska, 21–13, when Taylor left the game after injuring his shoulder on the last play of the 3rd quarter. In relief, Blakeman completed his only pass for 8 yards. But aided by a strong running game, and Nebraska’s Blackshirts defense that forced two turnovers and allowed only 9 yards in the 4th quarter, the Huskers rallied around Blakeman to score 17 unanswered points to win, 30–21.

Blakeman also started two games in place of an injured Taylor, both of which were victories over the Kansas Jayhawks. On November 15, 1986, he threw three touchdown passes and ran for another as he led Nebraska to a 70–0 rout, the worst defeat in Jayhawk history and the biggest shutout by Nebraska up to that point. And on October 10, 1987, Blakeman completed 10-of-12 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown in Nebraska’s 54–2 victory over Kansas.



Officiating career

Blakeman’s 2019 NFL officiating crew consists of umpire Jeff Rice, down judge Jerry Bergman, line judge Tom Symonette, field judge Joe Larrew, side judge Jimmy Buchanan, back judge Perry Paganelli, replay official Matt Sumstine and replay assistant Kevin Brown.

Blakeman headed a crew that officiated Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016 in which the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24–10.