Bill Vinovich
Born (1960-12-01) December 1, 1960 (age 63)[1]
Alma materUniversity of San Diego[2]
Occupation(s)NFL official (2001–2006, 2012–present), College basketball official

Bill Vinovich III (born December 1, 1960) is an American football official in the National Football League (NFL) who has worked as an NFL referee from 2001 to 2006 and since 2012; he is also a college basketball official.

Early life

Vinovich was born in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. His family moved to California, where he played football through four years of college, transitioning to officiating upon his magna cum laude graduation in 1983 from the University of San Diego with a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting.[2] His paternal grandfather and father were also sports officials.[2]

Officiating career

Vinovich began officiating football at the high school and small-college level; he then officiated in the Canadian Football League and Arena Football League, followed by the Mountain West Conference of NCAA Division I.[2]

Vinovich began his career in the NFL as a side judge on the officiating crew headed by referees Dick Hantak (2001) and Ed Hochuli (20022003)[3] before being promoted to referee for the start of the 2004 NFL season after former referee Ron Blum returned to his original position of line judge. In the NFL, he wears uniform number 52.

As a college basketball official, Vinovich officiated a first round contest between Virginia Tech and Illinois in the 2007 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament on March 16, 2007.

Due to a heart condition, Bill Vinovich retired from field duty as an NFL official prior to the 2007 season, to serve as the replay official for Ed Hochuli. He was replaced as a referee by former side judge John Parry.

In 2012, doctors gave Vinovich a clean bill of health, and he returned for the 2012 NFL season as a substitute official, working several games during the season. His first game back since 2006 was on October 14, 2012, heading Scott Green's crew in Philadelphia.[4]

Vinovich was the referee of Super Bowl XLIX, played on February 1, 2015, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.[5] Before that, he was the alternate referee of Super Bowl XLVII, which was played in New Orleans on February 3, 2013. In addition, Vinovich has officiated nine other post-season games (listed here by NFL season): three conference championship games (2002 AFC, 2015 NFC, and 2018 NFC), four divisional playoff games (2003 NFC, 2012 AFC, 2014 AFC, and 2017 NFC), and two wild card playoff games (2006 AFC and 2013 NFC).[6][7]

Vinovich was the referee for the 2018 NFC Championship Game, in which the lack of a penalty called on a controversial play late in the fourth quarter became the most discussed part of the game.[8][9]

On January 15, 2020, Vinovich was announced as the referee for Super Bowl LIV, which took place on February 2, 2020.[10]

In a 2022 week 15 game between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, in Buffalo, the Bills fans in attendance threw snowballs onto the field, aiming for Dolphins players and staff. Vinovich stopped play and announced that “We've just been informed that if a snowball hits someone, it'll be a 15-yard penalty against Buffalo," however, no such penalty or rule exists, and Vinovich had simply made it up on the spot.[11]

On January 25, 2022, the NFL named him as the alternate referee for Super Bowl LVI. He and his officiating crew joined the main officiating crew headed by main referee Ronald Torbert.

In January 2024 Vinovich was named as the referee for Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.[12]

2023 Crew


Personal life

Outside of his officiating career, Vinovich works as a certified public accountant.[14]


  1. ^ Kadilak, Karen (December 2, 2015). "Beaver County Sports Hall to induct new class". Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Bill Vinovich III". Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame. Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  3. ^ Behind the Football Stripes officiating crew archive
  4. ^ "Bill Vinovich to return to field as referee". Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  5. ^ Austro, Ben (January 14, 2015). "Bill Vinovich confirmed as referee for Super Bowl XLIX". Football Zebras. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  6. ^ Bill Vinovich NFL Official Statistics at Pro Football Reference
  7. ^ Werner, Barry (January 20, 2019). "Referee Bill Vinovich says he did not see controversial play". TouchdownWire. Retrieved January 20, 2019 – via
  8. ^ Filipe, Cameron. "Vinovich and Blakeman are the referees for the Conference Championships". Football Zebras. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  9. ^ D'Andrea, Christian (January 20, 2019). "The Saints, Rams and refs turned the NFC Championship game into a sloppy, glorious mess". Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  10. ^ Filipe, Cameron (January 15, 2020). "Bill Vinovich is the referee for Super Bowl LIV". Football Zebras. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  11. ^ Skurski, Jay. "15 yards for snowballs? Turns out, that's not covered in the NFL rule book". The Buffalo News. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  12. ^ Zucker, Joseph (January 23, 2024). "NFL Super Bowl 58 Referee Crew Revealed Featuring Bill Vinovich, Terry Killens". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 23, 2024.
  13. ^ Austro, Ben (June 27, 2023). "Officiating crews for the 2023 season". Football Zebras. Retrieved August 9, 2023.
  14. ^ Bradford, Chris (April 3, 2016). "For Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame inductee Bill Vinovich, officiating is not just a job, it's a passion". The Beaver County Times. Retrieved December 3, 2018.

Further reading