FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Mike Carey will become the first black referee in Super Bowl history.
Carey, in his 18th year as an official, was notified by the NFL office this week that he had the assignment for the Feb. 3 game in Mesa, Ariz.
The officials at the Super Bowl are chosen on merit, with the highest ranked at each position getting the assignment. Carey, who in his private life runs a skiing accessories company, has been among the NFL's top crew chiefs for a decade and has been a Super Bowl alternate, but has never been the referee.
Black officials have been increasing in number over the years. This season there were 26 on the 17 crews, a single-season high.
Blacks also have been well-represented in the Super Bowl at other positions, starting with Burl Toler, a former player, who was involved of several of the early games.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press