Football Zebras exclusive
Football Zebras has confirmed that Bill Vinovich will be the referee for the NFC Championship game and Terry McAulay will lead the crew in the AFC Championship.
Vinovich is on a championship game three-peat, having worked last year’s NFC Championship and Super Bowl XLIX the year before. The year before that Super Bowl, McAulay was the referee in Super Bowl XLVIII.
All times are Eastern.
Three alternates are assigned to each game: generally, one is designated for the offensive backfield (a referee or umpire), one is on the line of scrimmage (head linesman or line judge), and one is a deep position (side judge, field judge, or back judge). When alternates are listed, their position during the regular season is also given. The prior playoff experience that is listed for the crew chief includes his service as an NFL official, including as referee and any other crew position (excluding alternate assignments).
NFC Championship Game, Packers at Falcons, 3:05 p.m. (Fox)
Bill Vinovich was the referee in last year’s NFC Championship and Super Bowl XLIX in the 2014 season, which means he has graded at or near the top in three consecutive seasons. Although Vinovich is in his 12th year as an official — and 9th 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 16th season of NFL service.
This is his 9th postseason assignment and 3rd 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||12||San Diego||accountant, former NFL officiating supervisor|
|U||121||Paul King||8||Torbert||Nicholls State||school teacher|
|HL||28||Mark Hittner||20||Wrolstad||Pittsburg State||investment broker|
|LJ||10||Julian Mapp||8||Wrolstad||Grambling State||software QA tester|
|FJ||97||Tom Hill||18||Allen||Carson Newman||teacher|
|SJ||80||Greg Gautreaux||15||Torbert||SW Louisiana||athletic programs manager|
|BJ||93||Scott Helverson||14||Hochuli||Iowa||sales, printing and promotions|
- Replay: Paul Weidner
- Alternates: Walt Anderson (R), John McGrath (HL), Gary Cavaletto (SJ)
AFC Championship Game, Steelers at Patriots, 6:40 p.m. (CBS)
Terry McAulay is in his 19th season as an NFL official and 16th as referee. McAulay will be working his 17th postseason assignment, including 2 Wild Card Playoffs, 4 Divisional Playoffs, 8 Conference Championships, and Super Bowls XXXIX, XLIII, and XLVIII. His Super Bowl assignments were all as a referee.
The 11 assignments between conference and league title games is the most of any active referee, surpassing Ed Hochuli’s 10. McAulay also was the referee for the 1998 BCS Championship at Miami’s Orange Bowl in his final year as referee for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
His most recent postseason game was the Divisional Playoff game last year between the Steelers and the Broncos.
McAulay lives in Glenwood, Md., and is the coordinator of football officiating for the American Athletic Conference, a position he has held since 2008 with the conference’s predecessor, the Big East.
|R||77||Terry McAulay||19||Louisiana State||college officiating coordinator|
|U||49||Rich Hall||13||Boger||Arizona||custom cabinetry|
|HL||106||Wayne Mackie||10||Hussey||Colgate||director of operations, housing|
|FJ||3||Scott Edwards||18||Triplette||Alabama||environmental engineer|
|SJ||41||Boris Cheek||21||Morelli||Morgan State||director of operations and management|
|BJ||112||Tony Steratore||17||Boger||California (Pa.)||co-owner, supply company|
- Replay: Mike Wimmer
- Alternates: John Parry (R), Mark Steinkerchner (LJ), Rich Martinez (BJ)