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Longtime NFL official Gene Steratore retires

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Gene Steratore is marching off into the great night.

The longtime NFL referee is retiring after 15 seasons in pro football, according to Al Riveron, the league's senior VP of officiating.

Steratore made his intentions known to Riveron on Friday, capping a lengthy career that saw him enter the NFL in 2003 before rising to the referee level in 2006. Along the way, he worked 12 playoff games before capping his journey at Super Bowl LII.

The 55-year-old Steratore was more than just a football official, also doubling as a zebra for NCAA men's basketball games.

Steratore played a role in a handful of memorable on-field moments, serving as the head official during radioactive catch-or-not-catch controversies involving Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson.

He also gained notoriety for attempting to wedge a folded-up piece of paper between the ball and a fourth-down marker to decide whether or not the Cowboys converted a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak against the Raiders last season.

Steratore's handiwork resulted in Dallas being awarded a fresh set of downs, but the veteran official won't be asked to make that kind of high-pressure call again. He's now free to roam.

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