Former NFL referee Bill Leavy — who helped officiate Super Bowl XXXIV and Super Bowl XL — died this week … league exec Walt Anderson confirmed on Wednesday.
Anderson did not reveal a cause of death … but told Football Zebras in a statement that Leavy “was an outstanding official and an even better man.”
“Always kind and thoughtful,” said Anderson, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, “Bill was instrumental in mentoring countless young officials throughout his career.”
Anderson added, “His integrity earned him respect at every step of his football journey and the entire officiating community mourns his loss.”
Leavy began officiating NFL games in the 1995 season — and worked six years before he was assigned to help ref the Titans vs. Rams SB XXXIV. Leavy was just yards away from Mike Jones‘ game-winning tackle on Kevin Dyson.
Leavy was later promoted to ref in 2001 … and went on to work his second Super Bowl, XL, in 2006. He lamented his performance in the game, saying he regretted booting some of his calls in the Steelers’ win over the Seahawks.
Leavy worked his final game for the NFL in 2014 — a playoff matchup between the Colts and Broncos. He went on to work for the league in retirement, helping in the hiring process of new officials.
In 2019, Leavy won the Art McNally Award — arguably the highest honor for NFL officials.
“Saddened to hear of the loss of Bill Leavy,” former NFL ref Gene Steratore tweeted Wednesday. “Bill was an excellent referee and just a joy to be around. Life is just too short. He was a great mentor and friend.”