We don't know who will be playing in the Super Bowl yet, but we do know who will be officiating it and that's because the NFL announced this week that Ron Torbert has been tabbed as the referee for the game. This will mark the first time Torbert has been the referee for a Super Bowl.
Torbert has been an official in the NFL since 2010 when he was hired as a side judge. In 2014, he was promoted to referee and he's been doing that ever since. In his eight seasons on the job, Torbert has been the ref for six playoff games, but he's never officiated a game that has the magnitude of a Super Bowl with all of his experience coming in either the wild card round (four games) or the divisional round (two games).
One notable thing about Torbert is that his crew threw the fourth-fewest penalty flags in the NFL this year with an average of 12.3 flags per game, according to NFLpenalties.com. Of course, Torbert won't be working with his normal crew, so it's possible that number could trend up or down.
With four teams still fighting to get to the Super Bowl, here's a look at how the Rams, 49ers, Bengals. and Chiefs have fared over the past five years when Torbert has served as the ref in one of their games (stats via Pro Football Reference).
- Rams: 6-1 (1-0 in 2021)
- 49ers: 3-2 (2-0 in 2021)
- Bengals: 4-2 (1-0 in 2021)
- Chiefs: 3-1 (0-1 in 2021)
Torbert has already worked one postseason game this year as he was the referee in San Francisco's 13-10 wild card win over Green Bay. In a twist, the only Bengals or Chiefs game Torbert did this year was when the two teams played each other back in Week 17 and it was a game he wasn't even supposed to officiate. The ref assigned to the game was John Hussey, but Torbert ended up subbing in for him in a game the Bengals would win 34-31.
According to the NFL, the rest of Torbert's crew for the game will be umpire Bryan Neale, down judge Derick Bowers, field judge Rick Patterson, line judge Carl Johnson, side judge Keith Washington and back judge Scott Helverson. Roddy Ames will serve as the replay official.
Although Torbert doesn't have any Super Bowl experience, four on his crew -- Bowers, Johnson, Helverson and Patterson -- have combined to work a total of seven Super Bowls.
Super Bowl LVI will be kicking off from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Feb. 13 in a game that will be televised on NBC.