World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Fred Swearingen

Article Id: WHEBN0018828496
Reproduction Date:

Title: Fred Swearingen  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Super Bowl XIII, 1972–73 NFL playoffs, List of National Football League officials, Swearingen
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Fred Swearingen

Fred Swearingen, of Athens, Ohio, where for many years he owned and operated Swearingen's Sporting Goods, is a former official in the National Football League, serving as both a referee and field judge from 1960 through 1980. He wore number 21 for the major part of his career. He is best remembered for two particular calls during Pittsburgh Steelers games.

The Immaculate Reception

On December 23, 1972, Swearingen was the Referee for an AFC Divisional Playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders at Three Rivers Stadium.[1] Following a scoreless first half, Roy Gerela kicked two field goals for a 6–0 Steeler lead. But late in the 4th quarter, Raider backup quarterback Ken Stabler (replacing a flu-ridden, ineffective Daryle Lamonica) scampered 30 yards for a touchdown to give Oakland a 7–6 lead with time running out.

Then with 22 seconds remaining, Pittsburgh was on its 40-yard line on 4th and 10. Terry Bradshaw scrambled under Raider pressure, looking for receiver Barry Pearson before spotting John "Frenchy" Fuqua. But at the Raider 35-yard line, safety Jack Tatum collided with Fuqua, sending the ball wobbling backward where rookie running back Franco Harris scooped up the ball, running untouched into the end zone. Under the rules of that time, there could not be a legal catch if the ball touched two offensive players in succession. If the ball either bounced off both Tatum and Fuqua, or hit only Tatum, the catch would be legal. Swearingen consulted with umpire Pat Harder and field judge Adrian Burk, but then went to a sideline phone to consult with NFL supervisor of officials Art McNally, who was in the press box. Swearingen emerged and made his ruling that the play was a touchdown, in the process angering the Raiders. The Steelers won 13–7, and the win led to the beginning of that team's great success of the 1970s.

Super Bowl XIII

Main article: Super Bowl XIII

In Super Bowl XIII between the Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys on January 21, 1979 at the Orange Bowl, Swearingen (by now a field judge) found himself in the middle of another controversial call.[2] Midway through the 4th quarter, the Steelers held to a slim 21–17 lead when Bradshaw dropped back to pass from their 44 yard line. He launched a deep pass to wideout Lynn Swann, who was closely covered by cornerback Benny Barnes. The two stumbled over each other, and another official, back judge Pat Knight ruled it an incompletion. Swearingen overruled the official and ruled pass interference on Barnes. Several Cowboys argued that the call should have been either interference on Swann or incidental contact (which would mean no penalty should have been called). The call stood, and later in the drive Franco Harris ran 22 yards for a touchdown (a play on which Cowboys safety Charlie Waters was in position to make the tackle before he collided with umpire Art Demmas) and a 28–17 lead. A late Cowboy rally resulted in the final score being a 35–31 Steeler win. Later, the NFL ruled Swearingen was in error with his interference call.

References

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.