“It was a Tuesday and I was sitting in my office (in Braintree) when my cell phone rang. It was Dean Blandino,” recalled Mello, referring to the NFL’s Vice President of Officiating. “Dean said, ‘If you’re available I have another assignment for you.’ I told, ‘Yes. I believe I’m free that day.’ I couldn’t believe it. I was finally going to work the Super Bowl.”
He called his wife, Mary. His called his parents.
He called Don January, the guy most responsible for his career as an official.
Once home he and wife wife made a decision, that this was going to be a family affair.
His three daughters — Michaela (19), McKenzie (17) and Madison (13) — were going to be there to share it with him.
“I missed a lot of family things, a lot of my kids games because of my work as an official, especially in the NFL,” said Mello.
“My wife and daughters had to be there with me. This is the pinnacle of my profession, working the Super Bowl.”
There were other relatives, including Mello’s parents.
One problem was the working officials get two tickets for free.
In all, he had 13 people going.
The festivities started on the Thursday before the Super Bowl, when the officials and their familes have a big dinner.
Friday night was the Commissioner’s Party, always a highlight of hype week.
Mello and the crew had the normal pre-game meetings on Saturday, before he and the family spent some time in Manhattan.
Among the many highlights before the game, was meeting ex-Jets star and Super Bowl MVP Joe Namath, who wore a long mink coat.
“Joe’s girlfriend, who also wore a long mink coat like his, took a picture of us,” said Mello.
As for the game and the reason Mello was there, well, he was tested immediately.