WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) - Mary Paganelli is the only mother on Earth with three sons currently working as referees in the National Football League.
Perry Paganelli just finished his 14th NFL season, and worked as a back judge in the NFC championship game. Dino Paganelli has been in the NFL for six years, and worked a conference semi-final playoff game.
On Sunday, Carl Paganelli worked the Patriots-Giants game, his third Super Bowl assignment.
Though Mary and her husband Carl were in Indianapolis for the game, they weren't watching the players. "Even when we watch on (TV on) Sunday, I just watch the officials," she told 24 Hour News 8. "People ask you who are you rooting for. I say, 'The guys in the stripes.'"
The elder Carl Paganelli is amazed that his son is working another NFL title game. "Amazing that at his age he's got three Super Bowls. I said, I don't know what the record is, maybe five, something like that. If he hangs around, he might be able to be one of those guys (who sets a record.)"
The boys' love for officiating came from their dad. Known around West Michigan as the Godfather of Football Officials, Carl Sr. used to bring his boys to games. They'd watch from the sidelines.
Not long after, they worked together reffing high school games, and their second careers took off.
The brothers followed similar paths. They worked their way up the ranks for the Catholic elementary league to high school to college, then to the Arena Football League and eventually in the NFL.
"If you know the kids and the determination that they have, that they had when they were younger coming up, that it carried over into this," Carl Sr. said. "they want to be the best that there is out there. They just take that kind of pride in theirselves."
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