An Albemarle County man's eyes will be glued to the action on the field at Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.
David Wyant is a farmer, a former Albemarle County supervisor, and owns a country store in White Hall. Sunday, he'll be on the sidelines for the Super Bowl. Wyant is one of the seven-man crew of Super Bowl officials; he'll be the game's side judge.
The Albemarle native says a referee's five bad calls when he was playing football at Albemarle High School motivated him to become an official.
“I said, one day, I said I think I'm going to be an official. These people are cheating us,” said Wyant.
Wyant started as a baseball umpire in 1966 and worked his way up the ranks officiating ACC football. NFL scouts plucked him from central Virginia in 1991 and 23 seasons later, Wyant is working his first Super Bowl.
“I thought someone was playing a joke when the guy called me. I turned him down and said, 'Hey, fella, quit fooling me,'" said Wyant.
The NFL picks Super Bowl officials based on an evaluation system throughout the season. His selection means Wyant is in the top tier of side judges.
“I thought, how can I come from a little country place like this and end up doing that big type ball? But I've been very, very blessed and fortunate to have great people around me to make it possible,” said Wyant.
Wyant, his wife, three children, and a grandson will head to New Jersey Thursday. It’s the first time all of his children will be at the same game.
Wyant will be one of the eight longest-serving NFL officials left after this season. He says he is considering hanging up his whistle soon.