Bill Carollo, who was an NFL referee for nearly 20 years, said he received death threats and over 200 phone calls to his unlisted home phone number after a controversial call at the end of the 1999 NFC Championship.
With under a minute left in the game and down five, Shaun King found Emanuel at the Rams' 22 yard line for a 13-yard completion. Replay officials buzzed Carollo and told him to review the play. It was determined that the 13 yard catch was not a catch because the ball hit the ground. Along with completely fucking up how we view catching a football, it ended the Bucs' season. The rule was clarified the following year, à la the tuck rule, to note that the ball could still touch the ground and be considered a catch if the receiver maintained control throughout the play.
A lot of good that did Tampa Bay, who lost 11-6 to the Greatest Show on Turf. Even still, Carollo (who's now director of officiating in the Big Ten) probably got the worst of this. People were so pissed, he had to pull his kids out of school. Listen to the whole interview below.
Some interesting takeaways: Peyton Manning once apologized to him for yelling at him for a call; college referees, on average, make five or six mistakes a game and NFL referees make three-and-a-half; Carollo is a Vanessa Williams man and he's got a quiz for referees available on the Big Ten's site.
You Hate My Job: Football referee (plus, a ref quiz!) [Marketplace.org]