Football Zebras
2017 Postseason2017 Divisional PlayoffsVinovich, Torbert, Allen, and Steratore will lead Divisional Playoff crews

Vinovich, Torbert, Allen, and Steratore will lead Divisional Playoff crews

Football Zebras has confirmed the officiating crews for the Divisional Playoffs. Officials are listed with their uniform number, years of NFL experience (including this season), the crew each official worked with in the regular season (by the referee’s name), college, and outside occupation.

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 (down judge 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). 

Also of note, the eventual Super Bowl officials are working this weekend’s games, but not all are from the same crew.

Saturday, Jan. 13

Falcons at Eagles, 4:35 p.m. NBC 

Bill Vinovich is the referee, who is in his 12th season and 9th as referee. This is his 10th postseason assignment, including 2 Wild Card Playoffs, 4 Divisional Playoffs, 3 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl XLIX.

      Yrs 2017 crew College Occupation
R 52 Bill Vinovich 13   San Diego accountant, former NFL officiating supervisor
U 131 Mark Pellis 4 Parry Allegheny financial advisor
DJ 134 Ed Camp 18 Boger William Paterson physical education teacher*
LJ 18 Byron Boston 23 Anderson Austin tax consultant
FJ 97 Tom Hill 19 Allen Carson Newman teacher*
SJ 56 Allen Baynes 10 Hussey Auburn realtor
BJ 83 Shawn Hochuli 4 Allen Claremont financial advisor

*indicates full-time official

  • Replay: Charles Stewart
  • Alternates: Terry McAulay (R), Hugo Cruz (DJ), Mike Weatherford (FJ)

Titans at Patriots, 8:15 p.m. CBS

Ron Torbert is the referee, who is in his 8th season and 4th as referee. This is his 6th postseason assignment, including 3 Wild Card Playoffs and 3 Divisional Playoffs; he has received a playoff assignment in every year he was eligible.

      Yrs 2017 crew College Occupation
R 62 Ron Torbert 8   Michigan State attorney
U 102 Bruce Stritesky 12 Vinovich Embry Riddle airline pilot
DJ 6 Jerod Phillips 2 Anderson Northeastern State elementary school teacher
LJ 9 Mark Perlman 17 Vinovich Salem teacher*
FJ 104 Dale Shaw 5 Hochuli Allegheny pharmaceutical sales
SJ 3 Scott Edwards 19 Torbert Alabama environmental engineer
BJ 46 Perry Paganelli 20 Parry Hope College retired high school administrator

*indicates full-time official

  • Replay: Darryll Lewis
  • Alternates: Clete Blakeman (R), Gary Arthur (LJ), Steve Patrick (BJ)

Sunday, Jan. 14

Jaguars at Steelers, 1:05 p.m. CBS 

Brad Allen is the referee, who is in his 4th season. This is Allen’s second playoff assignment, and previously worked a Wild Card Playoff. Allen was hired directly to the referee position from the NCAA in 2014. 

      Yrs 2017 crew College Occupation
R 122 Brad Allen 4   Pembroke State non-profit CEO*
U 20 Barry Anderson 11 Wrolstad North Carolina State builder/developer*
DJ 91 Jerry Bergman 16 McAulay Robert Morris sales executive
LJ 10 Julian Mapp 9 Wrolstad Grambling State project leader
FJ 73 Joe Larrew 16 Blakeman St Louis attorney
SJ 87 Walt Coleman IV 3 Boger Southern Methodist financial advisor
BJ 93 Scott Helverson 15 Hochuli Iowa sales, printing and promotions*

*indicates full-time official

  • Replay: Jim Lapetina
  • Alternates: Walt Anderson (R), Carl Johnson (LJ), Greg Steed (BJ)

Saints at Vikings, 4:40 p.m. FOX

Gene Steratore is the referee, who is in his 15th season and 12th as referee. This is his 11th postseason assignment, including 3 Wild Card Playoffs, 6 Divisional Playoffs, and 2 Conference Championships.

      Yrs 2017 crew College Occupation
R 114 Gene Steratore 15   Kent State co-owner, supply company
U 81 Roy Ellison 15 Steratore Savannah State technical staff member
DJ 100 Tom Symonette 14 Cheffers Florida certified public accountant
LJ 84 Mark Steinkerchner 24 Torbert Akron vice-president*
FJ 1 Scott Novak 4 Coleman Phoenix sales manager
SJ 41 Boris Cheek 22 Morelli Morgan State director of operations and management*
BJ 78 Greg Meyer 16 Vinovich Texas Christian banker

*indicates full-time official

  • Replay: Paul Weidner
  • Alternates: Craig Wrolstad (R), Jim Mello (DJ), Greg Yette (BJ)
Cameron Filipe
Cameron Filipe
Cam Filipe is a sophomore at the University of New Haven, majoring in forensic science. He has been involved in football officiating for five years and currently works as a flag football and soccer official in college. This is his third season covering officiating as a staff writer for Football Zebras.

21 thoughts on “Vinovich, Torbert, Allen, and Steratore will lead Divisional Playoff crews

  1. Interesting that Steratore got the Saints-Vikings considering he worked the week 1 Monday night game. It’s possible Steratore could work Super Bowl LII too giving him 3 games at U.S. Bank Stadium.

  2. Good thing they know to keep Morelli away from the rematch of the worst sham in officiating history. Never forget bountygate. AVENGE THE 09 VIKINGS!

  3. Interesting who they are
    Is Torbert and Allen only being in their 4th Season Superbowl referee eligible
    So if not that leaves Gene or Bill and Bill just did one a feW yrs ago

  4. Tolbert is eligible being in the league 5 or more years and 3 pr mpre as a referee allen not till next year

  5. So Allen is not eligible yet. Vinovich was at the Super bowl 3 years ago, so it is unlikely they would choose him again so soon. That leaves Steratore and Torbert. Will Steratore finally get a Super Bowl and bring his patented charisma to the world stage? Or will Torbert get his first Super Bowl as a white hat in only his 2nd year eligible?

    Not sure how NFL Officials Dept feels about Steratore with the paper trick (I use this trick to machine tight tolerance +/- .0005″ parts, unsure why he can’t do that to measure 10 yards), but I think they’ll finally pick experience over youth.

  6. Thank you for clearing that up for me
    The funny thing about that index card idea is that he was not the first referee to do that the first guy to do that is the other veteran referee doing to the divisional round good old Bill V

  7. One improvement this year is always a referee as a back up alternate in the first two rounds unlike past

  8. Would you agree that this means there’s a very high chance Gene Steratore will be the Super Bowl referee this year? Here’s why I say that.

    I recall seeing that Super Bowl assignments give preference to officials that have never worked a SB before, as long as they ranked in the Top 5. In other words, a 5th ranked official might get in over a 1st ranked official, if #5 never worked an SB, and #1-4 all have. Am I remembering this right?

    If that’s true, Vinovich would be eliminated, since he did the Patriots-Seahawks SB. Allen isn’t eligible since he doesn’t have 5 years of experience. So it’s down to Steratore and Torbert, but Steratore has been an official for much longer. Unless he was ranked #6 (with Vinovich, Allen, Torbert, and the 2 conference championship referees ahead of him), wouldn’t he be guaranteed a Super Bowl spot?

    (Of course, this is all assuming that Al Riveron hasn’t changed any of the rules from the Blandino or Pereira era)

  9. It is not being within a set number. An official who is “Tier 1” is eligible to work the Super Bowl/CC games provided the official has the requisite experience. There could be 3 officials who are “Tier 1” at a position or there could be 10. Among the “Tier 1” officials the NFL likes to give the assignment to an official who has never received a Super Bowl assignment. However, if an official ranked as the top official at his/her position in two consecutive years, but did not work the Super Bowl after the previous season, he/she automatically gets the Super Bowl the second year. Considering Bill Vinovich worked a Conference Championship game last year, it is possible he was the top ranked Referee and was passed over since Carl Cheffers graded out as “Tier 1.” If every official who has graded out as “Tier 1” has worked the Super Bowl previously (or is ineligible) I am not sure if the NFL will just go by who graded out the highest or who has not worked the Super Bowl in the longest time

  10. She must not be very good since she has been placed in 3 different crew in the three year’s that she has been an official. She has been with Pete Morelli, Jeff Triplette & now Ron Torbert.

  11. But , Sarah Thomas got an alternate selection last week. Thankfully, Boger has not been selected. I can’t believe he was ever made a referee, let alone selected for the Super Bowl a few years ago. I wouldn’t want him on my high school crew.

  12. So Thomas Allen, do you think Boger is a worse referee than Triplette(though he is retiring, thank god)?

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