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Officials quiz

Despite a career as an NFL referee from 1989 to 2008, Bill Carollo says it was always nerve wracking: “If you say that you’re not nervous, you’re probably kidding yourself, and you probably aren’t really prepared," says Carollo. “You think you know yourself pretty well, but when you get out on the big stage and Vanessa Williams [is] singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl and jets are flying over ... I thought I was really ready, and I couldn’t even swallow." 

Carollo says death threats were always part of the job, even when the right call is made. One decision in a championship game that went against Tampa Bay resulted in “200 calls [to] my house. I’m unlisted. 15 to 16 people were arrested for death threats. I had to pull my kids out of school. And that’s when you make the right call." (See video of the controversial call over at NFL.com) 

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Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal