Mike Defee has been officiating football games since 1995, but Monday night he was able to be the head referee in the pinnacle of college football games, the National Championship.
“It was just phenomenal,” said Defee. “You know I'd been a part of the two national championships before as an alternate. And so to be able to go out there and actually work the game as an official, meant a great deal to me.”
Then something happened that Defee didn't expect. Memes and gifs of Defee started going viral all across the internet pointing out how muscular the 55-year-old was.
“Yeah you get that from some of your buddy's,” laughed Defee. “They'll let you know hey this is what's going on. Because we certainly have no idea what's going on out there.”
When he got back home, the joking didn't stop. His employees were wearing shirts that said “I work for the Mike “The Arms” Defee, and signs were posted that "pointed" to his office.
“One year they had some call that somebody didn't like,” said Woody Landry, a longtime employee of Defee’s. “So before he got to work Monday morning we got a rain coat, and made it look like a flag a referee would throw, and a ball stuck in there to keep it puffed up and everything. “And sat it on his desk. And he walked in and he busted out laughing.”
Landry, the mastermind behind the surprise, says that Defee wasn't just gloating.
“The guy is a super super nice guy,” said Landry. “You know I saw somewhere, something on there that he was showing off his arms. Trust me, he's not that type of person.”
For Defee, he's just remaining humble.
“As soon as this stuff dies down the next day or so, I'll be back to business,” said Defee. “You know I'm pretty removed from all of that and again, if it sheds positive light on officiating, then it is a great thing. I'm not interested in anything for me.”