The Harbaugh brothers were the story in Super Bowl XLVIII, but West Michigan had its own brotherly connection as Dino Paganelli became the third member of his family to officiate in a Super Bowl.
“It is the pinnacle of every official’s career,” Dino said on Monday after returning from New Orleans. “You just never know if you’ll get a chance to work the Super Bowl.”
Dino’s brothers Perry and Carl have officiated Super Bowls in the past. Carl was an umpire in last year’s big game between the Giants and Patriots. From the hype of the game to the lights going out at the Superdome, Dino says the experience was one to remember.
“I’ve worked a lot of football from NFL Europe to Arena League,” said Paganelli. “We never feared it was a security issue. It was to say the least… it was a unique experience.”
Dino has been an NFL official for seven years. Super Bowl XLVIII was a reward for years of hard work and experience. He started working high school games and moved up to college and eventually the NFL. The experience of New Orleans was also shared by Dino’s parents and his children – Brady, Jake and Katelyn. Their mother and Dino’s wife, Christy, lost her battle with cancer almost two years ago.
She always wanted to see Dino work a Super Bowl.
“I have her initials in my hat and before every game during the national anthem I look at them,” said Dino. “I’ve done that ever since she was sick and I continue to do that.
There’s no doubt in my mind I would not only have accomplished this but with college and high school officiating with the NFL without her support.”
Dino’s children were in attendance and each had a hat at Sunday’s Super Bowl with mom’s initials.
Family helped Dino get to the Super Bowl, and he was sure to soak the moment in.