Mike Carey graduated from Santa Clara in 1971 with a B.A. in biology. He played on the football team as a running back. In 1985, Carey became an official for the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). He officiated three postseason bowl games during his five years at the college level. Carey progressed to the NFL in 1990, working originally as a side judge. He was promoted to referee during the 1995 season. In doing so, Carey became only the second African-American referee in NFL history. He was an alternate referee for Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. Most notably, Carey was the referee for Super Bowl XLII, becoming the first African-American to officiate a Super Bowl. In 2014, he retired from the NFL and joined CBS Sports as an analyst for both Thursday and Sunday broadcasts. Carey provided rules analysis and rules explanations from game sites as well as the NFL Network studios.