Football Zebras™

Our playoff predicitions: Steratore ranks high, Wild Cards include Hochuli, Corrente

For a moment here, we will disregard our previous reporting on the playoff assignments (as the league thinks you should) and present our predictions for playoff assignments. We have chosen our assignments for the referee position only, not the entire crew.

Gene Steratore conducts the coin flip at the Rams-Bills game in Buffalo. (St. Louis Rams photo)

Gene Steratore, considered by us to be one of the frontrunners in postseason assignments, conducts the coin flip at the Rams-Bills game in Buffalo. (St. Louis Rams photo)

This year, all officials are assigned on individual merit, and not by the cumulative rank of the crew (see our post for the full playoff assignment criteria). Feel free to add your observations in the comment section.

Ben Austro

I think Gene Steratore has had a solid season this year. He really impressed us from Day 1 when he headed his crew less than 24 hours after a agreement in principle was reached ending the contract lockout.

I’m riding high on the Clete Blakeman bandwagon, although the 49ers-Rams tie game this year was a bit uncharacteristic for him. I might be premature in putting him in a Conference Championship slot in his first year of eligibility, but he’s just that damn good. Pete Morelli always gives a yeoman-like performance; he’s not going to win you over with style points, but he runs a tight ship. It was a toss-up between him and Steratore for the Super Bowl. (Blakeman doesn’t have the requisite seniority for the Super Bowl.)

It was really hard to exclude my selections for the Divisional Playoffs from the Conference Championship, but I had to draw the line somewhere. I think Ron Winter really deserves a Conference Championship this year, but it is crowded at the top.

Bill Vinovich has shown that he has not lost step, and demonstrated playoff readiness as he was able to step right in to a new crew each week as a roving crew chief. Ed Hochuli continues his impressive streak of playoff appearances (only grading out of an assignment one year since 1991), but this year seemed a little less than the lofty Hochuli standard.

Mark Schultz

Alberto Riveron’s crew had some bad games, but he did not make the bad calls. He worked the Championship round last year. The Cuban-born Riveron will be the first Hispanic referee in the Super Bowl.

Gene Steratore is on the cusp of replacing Hochuli as the “it” referee in the NFL. Wait until next year for his Super Bowl. Ron Winter has had a very good year, even though Al Michaels may not like him. The last few years have seen Winter improve as a referee, and I think that improvement will carry him to the Championship round.

Jeff Triplette stayed away from controversy this year and had a good season. Mike Carey flew under the radar, and also had a good season. It was another efficient year for Terry McAulay, but his crew had a few issues.

John Parry, coming off Super Bowl performance last season, has had a strong year. No Super Bowl hangover. Clete Blakeman will challenge for the Super Bowl in coming years. His crew had a timing error earlier this year, which could hold him back from a higher assignment. 

Walt Anderson gets aced out of the playoffs due to a numbers crunch. Too many good officials and too few playoff games.

Postseason predictions

   Ben Austro Mark Schultz
Super Bowl Gene Steratore (WC-alt) Alberto Riveron ↓↓↓ (WC)
Conference Championship Clete Blakeman  Crystal_Clear_action_button_cancel[1] Gene Steratore (WC-alt)
Pete Morelli ↓↓ (WC) Ron Winter   (CC-alt)
Divisional Playoffs Walt Anderson  (DIV-alt) Mike Carey ↓ (WC)
Terry McAulay ↑ (CC) Bill Leavy  ↑ (CC)
John Parry ↓ (WC) Terry McAulay  ↑ (CC)
Ron Winter  (CC-alt) Jeff Triplette (WC-alt)
Wild Card Playoffs Tony Corrente ↑ (DIV) Clete Blakeman X 
Ed Hochuli (PRO) Tony Corrente  ↑ (DIV)
Jeff Triplette (WC-alt) Ed Hochuli  (PRO)
Bill Vinovich  ↑ (DIV) John Parry Check
Pro Bowl Mike Carey (WC) Walt Anderson (DIV-alt)

Update: Actual earned assignments in parentheses. On-field assignments shown for referees that also has an alternate assingment.

4 comments for “Our playoff predicitions: Steratore ranks high, Wild Cards include Hochuli, Corrente

  1. Texas Jack
    January 2, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    PUT DOWN THE CRACK PIPE BOYS

    Triplette and Blakeman have done abysmal jobs this season

  2. Chuck Harrison
    January 2, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    If Scott Green doesn’t get an on field assignment this year, will he be removed as referee? This would be the third year in a row without an on fiield playoff, after working the super bowl.

  3. Ben Austro
    January 3, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Don’t think so. Green is working a Wild Card game, but 3 years without an on-field postseason assignment is not unprecedented.