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Super Bowl Referee Is Law Partner, Internet Heartthrob

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on February 10, 2016 10:15 AM

The real winner of Super Bowl 50 wasn't the Denver Broncos. It wasn't even Beyonce. It was referee Cletus "Clete" Blakeman, at least according to the Internet. And no, the web wasn't impressed with Blakeman's sometimes controversial calls; it was more about his looks. Blakeman's presence on the field sent hashtags like #hotref and #rippedref trending on Twitter.

That's a lot of unexpected attention for a personal injury lawyer from Omaha.

From Football to the Law and Back

Blakeman, 51, is no stranger to football. In his college days, he was a quarter back from the University of Nebraska. He went on to graduate from Nebraska's law school in 1991, but returned to football in 2008, when he became a field judge. Blakeman was made a full-fledged referee in 2010, The American Lawyer reports.

But reffing is only a part time job, so Blakeman makes ends meet as a partner at Carlson & Burnett, an Omaha firm where he practices personal injury law and general litigation.

Not everyone is in love with #hotref, however. As the Denver Post noted, Blakeman has overseen some controversial and unpopular calls. FindLaw's own resident sports fan, Senior Writer Chris Coble, notes that Blakeman might be a good lawyer, but he "would make a bad judge, as many of his calls should've been overturned on appeal."

In Other Lawyer-Super Bowl News

Blakeman wasn't the only lawyer making news on Super Bowl Sunday. Fort Worth, Texas attorney Bryan Wilson featured in not one but two Taco Bell commercials. Wilson became a bit of an Internet sensation last fall after releasing absurd, over the top advertisements that featured him popping wheelies on his dirt bike and screaming "BRYAN WILSON, TEXAS LAW HAWK."

Taco Bell enlisted Wilson's Texas Law Hawk persona to help hawk its newest fast food offering: the Quesalupa, a highly questionable combination of quesadilla and chalupa. Wilson played a bit part in the national ad, but was the star of one of Taco Bell's five regional advertisements, as seen below:

Now tell us that doesn't make you hungry. HUNGRY FOR JUSTICE.

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