In The Know

Amid NFL playoffs, lawmaker talks job as football ref

When she tunes in to watch her Seattle Seahawks take on the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Rep. Suzan DelBene will likely be taking a more critical look at the NFC Championship than the average viewer.

The Washington Democrat is a former high school football referee and knows first-hand the pressures of making a call on the field.

{mosads}“I definitely look at the game with the eye of a referee and look at what’s happening out there and kind of have my own opinion on calls and what happens there,” DelBene tells ITK. “Generally you’re out there, you’ve got to make the best call you can based on the information you have.”

“Some of the best preparation I had for coming to Congress is being a football referee,” she adds. “Because you’ve got to make a decision and no matter what you do, someone’s unhappy with you.”

She says that it “definitely helps me in football, but also was great training for this job that I’m in now.”

DelBene, 52, grew up in a family of football fanatics, and wanted to do something that kept her involved with the game after she finished up college: “My parents were from Wisconsin and football was a big thing.”

“I really enjoyed it,” she says of her roughly four years working as a ref. “You do it because you enjoy the game and to help out the kids who are starting out.”

This weekend, rather than ref, DelBene plans on enjoying the role of a viewer as her NFL team battles it out for a spot in February’s Super Bowl. Although she’s optimistic about the Seahawks’s chances, DelBene says she’s not ready to make any predictions about how they might fare against the Patriots or the Colts.

“We’re taking it a game at a time,” she says with a laugh. “I’m definitely confident that we’ll be victorious in this game.”

But there are some folks who likely disagree with her assessment: her own family.

Growing up with Packers-loving parents, DelBene’s five siblings are all fans of Green Bay. While she considers the Wisconsin squad her “No. 2” team, “There’s no doubt the Seahawks come first, and that’s who I’ll be cheering for this weekend.”

Tags Seattle Seahawks Suzan DelBene

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