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RICH HANTAK (Jun 1956)
Richard Hantak was a football official in the National Football League for twenty-five years between 1978 and 2003. He began his NFL officiating career as a back judge and became a referee eight years later. During his career, he officiated in two Super Bowls, Super Bowl XVII in 1983 as a back judge and later as a referee in Super Bowl XXVII in 1993, both at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California and selected as an alternate for Super Bowl XXXII in 1998.
Hantak was most notable for being involved in a game that would result in the elimination of the excessive crowd noise rule from the NFL because of the actions during an exhibition game preceding the 1989 NFL season between the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome. Prior to the snap to begin a play, Bengal’s quarterback Boomer Esiason constantly complained to Hantak about a loud crowd noise inside of the dome and would embellish his reactions in protest over the newly created rule.
Hantak was also involved in a humorous incident during a 1996 game between Pittsburgh and Carolina. On a punt, the ball landed in the end zone and the Carolina mascot, Sir Purr, downed it unaware the ball was live. While Steeler’s coach, Bill Cowher was laughing, Hantak told Sir Purr not to do it again.
Dick ended his officiating career with a playoff game on January 11, 2003 between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets. In the 2006 NFL season, Hantak served as a replay official, working on site in the video officiating booth.
Hantak is a 1960 graduate of Southeast Missouri State University and was a member of Sigma Tau Gamma. He was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in January 2012.