NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

March 24, 2014

A 'Super' experience

North Andover resident still on a high after working NFL's biggest game

(Continued)

Two of his calls in the first quarter, one on a spot with the Seahawks’ quarterback Wilson going for a first down inside the 5-yard line but was ruled short and another on an incomplete Wilson pass that Denver coach John Fox thought was a backwards lateral.

Both challenges were denied.

“That really gave me a good feeling that things are going well,” said Mello. “This is the biggest sporting event in the world. You want to get it right.”

The game was really never in doubt.

The first play of the game was a messed up hike by Denver, which turned into a safety, and the rest was history.

“The game managed itself,” said Mello.

“It really wasn’t a difficult game to officiate. Seattle’s defense was as good as I’ve seen. They were all over the Broncos all game.”

When the game ended, all of the officials ran off the field to the locker room. Mello started to run before catching himself.

“I said, ‘I’m not running! I want to feel the confetti,’” said Mello.

“I just stayed there for a minute to soak it all in.”

Mello’s most memorable part of the long weekend, though, happened about an hour after the game.

As the bus pulled up to the hotel where he was staying, his daughters ran to see him as he got off. Let’s just say, tears were flowing.

“The girls were hugging me saying ‘We’re so proud of you, dad!’” said Mello. “It was an emotional moment for me, realizing the sacrifice for all of us. To get teenage girls to say that to their dad ... wow! ... You don’t hear that too often.”

A NFL rule states that officials that work a Super Bowl are not allowed to work the following year, which means Mello will not have the “Super Bowl” pressure hanging over him.

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