Cletus W. Blakeman
June 23, 1964
|Education||University of Nebraska|
|Occupation||NFL official, attorney|
Cletus W. Blakeman (born June 23, 1964) is an American football official in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Outside of his work as an NFL official, he is a partner in the law firm of Carlson & Burnett in Omaha, Nebraska. His uniform number is 34.
Blakeman began his American football officiating career in the Big 12 Conference, moving to the NFL in 2008 as a field judge for the first two seasons of his pro football officiating career, and subsequently refereeing for the 2010 NFL season, after Don Carey returned to the back judge position.
College football careerEdit
Blakeman attended the University of Nebraska from 1984 to 1987, serving primarily as a backup quarterback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, including the 1986 and 1987 seasons behind starter Steve Taylor.
During Nebraska's game against the unranked Colorado Buffaloes on October 25, 1986, head coach Tom Osborne replaced Taylor with Blakeman in the fourth quarter. Colorado still limited Blakeman to 4 out of 6 completions for 37 yards, and held on to upset the Huskers, 20–10, their first win over Nebraska since 1967 and the Buffaloes' first win over Nebraska at home since 1960.
On October 3, 1987, South Carolina was leading Nebraska, 21–13, when Taylor left the game after injuring his shoulder on the last play of the 3rd quarter. In relief, Blakeman completed his only pass for 8 yards. But aided by a strong running game, and Nebraska's Blackshirts defense that forced two turnovers and allowed only 9 yards in the 4th quarter, the Huskers rallied around Blakeman to score 17 unanswered points to win, 30–21.
Blakeman also started two games in place of an injured Taylor, both of which were victories over the Kansas Jayhawks. On November 15, 1986, he threw three touchdown passes and ran for another as he led Nebraska to a 70–0 rout, the worst defeat in Jayhawk history and the biggest shutout by Nebraska up to that point. And on October 10, 1987, Blakeman completed 10-of-12 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown in Nebraska's 54–2 victory over Kansas.
Blakeman was hired by the NFL for the 2008 season at the field judge position on the crew headed by referee Bill Leavy. He remained with Leavy's crew as the field judge in 2009 and received a postseason assignment that season -- the New York Jets' 24-14 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild-card round. He was then promoted to referee for the 2010 season.
Since becoming a referee, Blakeman has been assigned to nine postseason games: The Houston Texans' 31-10 victory over the Bengals in a 2011 wild-card game; the Denver Broncos' 24-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers in a 2013 divisional game; the Baltimore Ravens' 30-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 2014 wild-card game; the Arizona Cardinals' 26-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers in overtime in a 2015 divisional game; Super Bowl 50 (see below); the New England Patriots' 24-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2017 AFC Championship Game; the Los Angeles Chargers' 23-17 victory over the Ravens in a 2018 wild-card game; the Patriots' 37-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime in the 2018 AFC Championship Game; and the Packers' 28-23 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in a 2019 divisional game.
Blakeman's 2020 NFL officiating crew consists of umpire Tab Slaughter, down judge Jerry Bergman, line judge Julian Mapp, field judge Greg Gautreaux, side judge Jimmy Buchanan, back judge Perry Paganelli, replay official Jimmy Oldham and replay assistant Willie Vizoso.
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- Ex-Husker QB promoted to referee after two years in NFL
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- Big Red Network (May 11, 2008). "NFL: Former Husker Clete Blakeman Will Officiate". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 31, 2016.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Big Red Network (January 21, 2016). "Ex-Husker's season grade lands him the referee's job for the Super Bowl". Omaha.com. Retrieved January 31, 2016.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- "Colorado 20, Nebraska 10". HuskerMax.com. 1986. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
- "Nebraska 30, South Carolina 21". HuskerMax.com. 1987. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- "Close Call Wakes Up Nebraska : Cornhuskers Win With Fourth-Quarter Rally, 30-21". Associated Press. Los Angeles Times. October 4, 1987. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- "Nebraska 70, Kansas 0". HuskerMax.com. 1986. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
- "Nebraska 54, Kansas 2". HuskerMax.com. 1987. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
- "Clete Blakeman". Sports Reference. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
- Filipe, Cameron (June 3, 2020). "Officiating crews for the 2020 season". Football Zebras. Retrieved June 21, 2020.