This week's National Football League championship game -- the Super Bowl -- will not be the first time that either the New England Patriots or the New York Giants have appeared in the big game, but it will be a first for the officials calling the game.

The NFL confirmed Thursday that Mike Carey will lead the officials, making him the first black referee in a Super Bowl. Two of the other officials -- line judge Carl Johnson and field judge Boris Cheek -- are also black.

The rest of the crew includes umpire Tony Michalek, head linesman Gary Slaughter, side judge Larry Rose and back judge Scott Helverson.

Carey is in his 18th season as an NFL official. He was the alternate referee in the 2002 Super Bowl between the Patriots and the St. Louis Rams. He was also the referee in the first meeting of the Giants and Patriots this season -- a 38-35 win for New England in December.

The Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, outside Phoenix, is Sunday (at 2317 utc).

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.