Football Zebras has confirmed the assignment of referees Ed Hochuli and Bill Vinovich to the Conference Championship games on Sunday, as previously reported. Hochuli will have the AFC game between the Patriots and Broncos; Vinovich will be heading the crew for the NFC title match between the Cardinals and Panthers.
AFC Championship Game, Patriots at Broncos, 3 p.m. ET (CBS)
Ed Hochuli is in his 26th year as an official and 24th as referee. Hochuli will be working his 24th postseason game, the most by far of any active official (8 Wild Card Playoffs, 6 Divisional Playoffs, 8 Conference Championships, and Super Bowls XXXII and XXXVIII). His 10 assignments between conference and league title games is tied with Terry McAulay for the most among active officials.
His most recent postseason game was the Wild Card game between the Cardinals and Panthers — the two teams in the NFC Championship Game.
Hochuli lives in San Diego and is a partner of the Arizona-based law firm Jones, Skelton and Hochuli. His son, Shawn, joined the NFL in 2014.
|R||85||Ed Hochuli||26||Texas-El Paso||attorney|
|U||49||Rich Hall||12||Boger||Arizona||custom cabinetry|
|HL||28||Mark Hittner||19||Wrolstad||Pittsburg State||investment broker|
|LJ||101||Carl Johnson||12||Blakeman||Nicholls State||full-time official|
|FJ||109||Dyrol Prioleau||9||Triplette||Johnson C Smith||manager, law firm|
|BJ||112||Tony Steratore||16||Boger||California (Pa.)||co-owner, supply company|
- Replay official: Bob McGrath
- Replay assistant: Brian Matoren
- Alternates: John Parry (R), Mike Spanier (LJ), Jon Lucivansky (SJ)
- Supervisor: Garth DeFelice
- Observer: Al Riveron
NFC Championship Game, Cardinals at Panthers, 6:40 p.m. ET (Fox)
Bill Vinovich was the referee in last year’s Super Bowl XLIX, which means he has graded at or near the top in consecutive seasons. Although Vinovich is in his 11th year as an official — and 8th as referee — those seasons were not consecutive, as Vinovich was sidelined with an aortic aneurysm in 2006. He left the field to work in the league office as an officiating supervisor and grader. Doctors gave Vinovich a clean bill of health, and he returned to the field after the 2012 labor impasse with the referee’s union.
Vinovich was hired by the NFL in 2001, making this his 15th season of NFL service.
This is his 8th postseason assignment and 2nd Conference Championship. He has also worked 2 Wild Card Playoffs, 3 Divisional Playoffs, and the Super Bowl.
Vinovich lives in Lake Forest, Calif., and is a Division I college basketball referee and a certified public accountant.
|R||52||Bill Vinovich||11||San Diego||accountant, former NFL officiating supervisor|
|U||64||Dan Ferrell||13||Corrente||Cal State-Fullerton||director, parts logistics and supply chain management|
|HL||79||Kent Payne||12||Cheffers||Nebraska Wesleyan||teacher|
|LJ||18||Byron Boston||21||Anderson||Austin||tax consultant|
|SJ||73||Joe Larrew||14||Blakeman||St Louis||attorney|
|BJ||111||Terrence Miles||8||Cheffers||Arizona State||quality control manager|
- Replay official: Larry Nemmers
- Replay assistant: Mark Butterworth
- Alternates: Walt Coleman (R), Paul King (U), Mark Steinkerchner (LJ)
- Supervisor: Neely Dunn