Fans Swoon for Super Bowl 50’s Hot Ref: Who Is He?

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller wasn’t the only MVP on the field at Super Bowl 50. Throughout the big game — and the stellar halftime show from Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars — one man stood out from the rest: the hot ref.

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Referee Clete Blakeman stands on the field in the first quarter between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50.
Referee Clete Blakeman stands on the field in the first quarter of the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Fans raved about the tall, muscular official online, taking note of his chiseled features and bulging biceps. He even got his own hashtag, “#HotRef,” and a parody Twitter account, “@hotreferee.”

According to the Today show, #HotRef is Clete Blakeman, a 51-year-old lawyer and former football player from Omaha, Nebraska. Blakeman has been officiating in the NFL since 2008, but this was his first Super Bowl as lead official. (Per Sports Illustrated, he was the alternate referee for Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.)

NFL official Clete Blakeman makes a holding call during the game between the Oakland Raiders and the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on November 22, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan.
NFL official Clete Blakeman makes a holding call during the game between the Oakland Raiders and the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Nov. 22, 2015, in Detroit, Mich. Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images

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NFL field judge Clete Blakeman looks on from the field before the start of a game between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 10, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
NFL field judge Clete Blakeman looks on from the field before the start of a game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sept. 10, 2009, in Pittsburgh, PA. George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Blakeman was one of seven officials at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday, February 7, but many viewers had eyes only for him. Check out some of the funniest reactions below!

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