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NFL Referee Trading In Whistle For Microphone With New Analyst Job

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- You might know him from his first down signal.

No, he's not Ed Hochuli with those Brock Lesner arms.

"I just tried to create something different that didn't require me to spend maybe two hours in the gym every day," says former NFL referee Gene Steratore, of Washington County.

You also might know him from being the referee who worked the first game back from the officials' work stoppage.

"It was a little uneasy, I won't lie, to get a standing ovation as an official, they did it in Baltimore and were very polite about it, and they gave us a standing ovation after the coin toss, and then it turned into boos with the first holding call on the Ravens," said Steratore

After 15 years as an NFL referee, Steratore is turning in his whistle for a microphone. He will work for CBS Sports as their on-camera official for both the NFL and college hoops.

"I'm hoping to continue to give the public a little more knowledge on some of these things. The public's thirst for this information has grown," he says. "I think the ability to hopefully educate in some ways will be interesting, and I'll still feel like an official, I'm hoping, a little bit at least."

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The NFL's controversial replay and rules have create a new job market for officials with experience, and TV networks are paying big money to get them on board.

The catch rule has been one of the most argued about rules, just as the Steelers and Jesse James. But, through the years, Steratore has been right in the middle of it.

"I probably could speak a long time on this. You know, when you look at yourself on Wikipedia once in a while, and the catch is part of it, you realize you do have a history with this, and I did with Calvin Johnson and onto Dez Bryant, and then the irony of it," Steratore says. "And then the two that happened in the Super Bowl. Ironically enough, the last decision I made as an official was the Zack Ertz's touchdown. So, Calvin's wasn't, Dez's wasn't, but Zack's was, so maybe that meant it was time to quit."

On that game-winning touchdown by Ertz, even the game announcers were confused as to whether it would stand.

But for Steratore, the replay convinced him the call was right - possession turned the receiver into a runner.

"When this process of the catch has finished and then, by rule, what we really do, it turns from a process of a catch to him actually being a runner," Steratore said.

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