Jerry Seeman, a referee in two Super Bowls before becoming the NFL's supervisor of officials, died Sunday evening at his home in Blaine, Minn. He was 77.
Seeman, who had been in a 3-1/2-year fight with cancer, died at 7 p.m. while his son, Jeff, was about to officiate as line judge in the New England Patriots' overtime victory over the Denver Broncos.
Seeman officiated in 15 NFL playoff games, two Pro Bowls and Super Bowls XXIII (in Miami) and XXV (in Tampa).
An avid golfer, he lived off the No. 1 green on the Tournament Players Championship course, site of the 3M Championship. Always in superb physical condition, Seeman regularly carried his clubs and walked the golf course. He spent winters in Palm Springs.
Jeff Seeman, 50, a Fridley High School and University of Minnesota graduate who has been a NFL official for 12 years, learned of his father's death after the Patriots-Broncos game.
"He was a competitor," Jeff Seeman said Monday. "He loved to figure out mathematical problems and football rules test questions. He was a walking rulebook."
Jerry Seeman was the NFL's senior director of officiating from 1991-2001 after serving as an on-field referee for 16 seasons, from 1975-90.
He was a multi-star athlete at Plainview High School and Winona State University.
Jeff Seeman said his father had renal-cell cancer that started in a kidney and was diagnosed in July 2010.
"He battled for 3-1/2 years; eventually it located to the lungs, then two years ago it metastasized in the brain," he said.
Jeff Seeman said his father was aware that Jeff would be working the Sunday night New England-Denver game.
"He passed at 7 p.m. and the kickoff was 7:30," Jeff said. "The last game he really watched was the week before in Chicago with all that weather, the tornadoes and stuff."
Jeff was line judge for that Nov. 17 game between the Bears and Baltimore Ravens at Soldier Field.
"We talked quite a bit about it," he said of his father. "That was the last one we got to talk about."
Jeff was asked the best advice he ever received from his father.
"It doesn't cost more to be nice," Jeff Seeman said.
Service arrangements are pending.