Earlier this week, we narrowed the field of potential conference championship referees down to five. Through multiple sources with knowledge of the grading and the assignment process, Football Zebras has now reduced that number to two.
It is not known which conference title game will go to whom, but our sources indicate that Tony Corrente and Gene Steratore have deservedly earned the assignments for the Jan. 19 games.
“It’s as close to a lock as you are ever going to get,” one source told Football Zebras.
The assignments for the penultimate Sunday have not been distributed to the officiating crews yet, but process of elimination by our sources has the inevitable selection of Corrente and Steratore.
Corrente will be working his 13th postseason assignment and his fourth conference championship. (He also worked five wild card playoffs, 3 divisional playoffs, and Super Bowl XLI.)
Steratore will be working his seventh postseason assignment and his second conference championship. (He also worked two wild card playoffs and three divisional playoffs.)
Finally, a little housekeeping. Football Zebras made a regrettable error when we listed a few of the referees that were informed that they did not receive a playoff assignment this year. While the information was factually correct, our report preceded the league notification. This was not our intention, as we held on to a similar story last season until we were certain the notifications were sent. We misunderstood the direction from our sources. The officials in question deserve better, and we will use this experience to make better judgment calls in the future.
That said, we have one more game to figure out. Who do you think should get the assignment?