Football Zebras analysis
Carl Cheffers, according to multiple sources with knowledge of how the officials’ grades stand this season, is the most likely candidate to head the all-star crew of officials for the final game of the season on Feb. 5 in Houston. The fact that Cheffers has not had a previous Super Bowl assignment furthers this likelihood, as the league has shown preference to first-time officials that are in the top-graded tier.
Most of the crew that is working the Steelers-Chiefs game is believed to be headed to the Super Bowl, with two coming from the other AFC Divisional Playoff game. Typically, the referee-umpire pair and both sideline tandems that are considered for the Super Bowl are placed in the the same divisional game, although there are usually no more than three such officials in the same game. The officials in the Kansas City game were originally in the early afternoon slot on Sunday, but due to the possibility of icy roads that morning, the game is now the bookend of the divisional weekend.
The Super Bowl assignments have not been finalized and will be distributed to the officials early next week. This gives the league office the ability to make silent changes if an official has a glaring error or is injured in the divisional game. Unofficially, the Super Bowl crew is believed to be as follows, shown with the number of Wild Card and Divisional Playoffs and Conference Championship games worked in the last five seasons:
|Yrs||2016 crew||Div. Playoff||2011-2015||Prev. Super Bowl|
|R||51||Carl Cheffers||17||PIT-KC||1 DIV, 2 WC|
|U||64||Dan Ferrell||14||Corrente||PIT-KC||2 CC, 1 DIV|
|HL||79||Kent Payne||13||Cheffers||HOU-NE||4 CC, 1 DIV||XLV|
|LJ||45||Jeff Seeman||15||Parry||PIT-KC||1 CC, 2 DIV, 2 WC||XLIV|
|FJ||67||Doug Rosenbaum||16||Morelli||PIT-KC||1 CC, 3 WC||XLV|
|SJ||109||Dyrol Prioleau||10||Triplette||HOU-NE||1 CC|
|BJ||30||Todd Prukop||8||Corrente||PIT-KC||2 DIV, 2 WC|
Again, this is subject to change, but Football Zebras has high confidence in the selections above based on knowledgeable sources and our internal analysis.
With that, there is still time to sound off on who you think will be the referee for Super Bowl LI in our poll below.