Football Zebras
2017 Postseason2017 Conference ChampionshipsChampionship liveblog: Vikings at Eagles

Championship liveblog: Vikings at Eagles

2017 NFC Championship

Follow us here for rolling coverage of the calls and rules interpretations of the NFC Championship game from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.

Today’s crew is headed by Ed Hochuli.

      Yrs 2017 crew College Occupation
R 85 Ed Hochuli 28   Texas-El Paso attorney
U 14 Shawn Smith 3 Hochuli Ferris State internal auditor
DJ 48 Jim Mello 14 Allen Northeastern facilities manager
LJ 59 Rusty Baynes 8 Hochuli Auburn-Montgomery general manager, safety services*
FJ 103 Eugene Hall 4 Boger North Texas federal agent
SJ 88 Brad Freeman 4 Cheffers Mississippi State sports park director
BJ 30 Todd Prukop 9 Corrente Cal State-Fullerton medical sales representative

*indicates full-time official

  • Replay: Tom Sifferman
  • Alternates:
    • Carl Cheffers (R)
    • Carl Johnson (LJ)
    • James Coleman (SJ)
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 21, 20186:42 pm

Kickoff conditions: Partly cloudy 47°, 5mph

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 21, 20186:42 pm

This is Hochuli’s 26th postseason assignment, the most of any active official, which include 11 Wild Card Playoffs,* 5 Divisional Playoffs, 9 Conference Championships, and Super Bowls XXXII and XXXVIII. The playoff experience of the rest of the crew, including today’s game:

  • U Shawn Smith, 3 games — 1 wild card,* 1 divisional, 1st championship; first year of eligibility for Conference Championships
  • DJ Jim Mello, 11 games — 4 wild cards, 3 divisionals, 3 championships, Super Bowl XLVIII
  • LJ Rusty Baynes, 7 games — 2 wild cards,* 3 divisionals, 1st championship, Super Bowl 50
  • FJ Eugene Hall, 4 games — 3 wild cards,* 1st championship
  • SJ Brad Freeman, 4 games — 2 wild cards,* 1 divisional, 1st championship
  • BJ Todd Prukop, 7 games — 2 wild cards, 3 divisionals, 1st championship, Super Bowl LI

*includes a wild card game 2 weeks ago.

This is the first championship game for 5 officials, although 2 of them have worked Super Bowls.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 21, 20186:50 pm
10:14 | 1st qtr. Vikings TD — Kyle Rudolph 25 yd. pass from Case Keenum (Kai Forbath kick). MIN 7-0 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 21, 20187:04 pm

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 21, 20187:06 pm
6:26 | 1st qtr. Eagles TD — Patrick Robinson 50 yd. interception return (Jake Elliott kick). Tied 7-7 key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 21, 20187:26 pm
13:37 | 2nd qtr. Eagles TD — LeGarrette Blount 11 yd. run (Jake Elliott kick). PHI 14-7 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 21, 20187:47 pm

10:10 | 2nd qtr. Nick Foles was hit in the action of throwing a pass for the Eagles. The pass hit one of his linemen in the back. It was ruled an incomplete pass.

At one time, this was a foul, as the offensive lineman are ineligible to be the first player to touch a pass. The rule is relaxed if there is unintentional contact by the ineligible lineman, but a deliberate first-touch by an ineligible is a foul.

Because the flight of the pass was altered by the contact, this is, by rule, unintentional contact with the pass by the offensive lineman and not a foul.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 21, 20187:58 pm
1:09 | 2nd qtr. Eagles TD — Alshon Jeffery 53 yd. pass from Nick Foles (Jake Elliott kick). PHI 21-7 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 21, 20188:01 pm

1:32 | 2nd qtr.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 21, 20188:08 pm

Eagles 24-7, halftime

Penalties

  • Vikings — None
  • Eagles — 1/15

Replays

  • none
:00 | 2nd qtr. Eagles FG — Jake Elliott 38 yd. PHI 24-7
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 21, 20188:28 pm
10:05 | 3rd qtr. Eagles TD — Torrey Smith 41 yd. pass from Nick Foles (Jake Elliott kick). PHI 31-7 key
Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 21, 20188:30 pm

10:05 | 3rd qtr. Perfect position for field judge Eugene Hall on the flea flicker touchdown.

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/955251093599956992

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 21, 20188:42 pm
6:27 | 3rd qtr. Booth review (score) — Completed catch for a touchdown. Call reversed: incomplete pass.key

Video

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 21, 20188:46 pm

6:27 | 3rd qtr. Aaaaand this is why we have instant replay. Side judge Brad Freeman was screened by Thielen’s body and didn’t have the best look. Back judge Todd Prukop was also screened by Thielen’s body at the critical moment.

Replay is there to fix obvious errors. Prukop and Freeman didn’t mean to miss the call. They both were screened, gave it their best guess and replay was there to get it right. Trust me, the officials breathed a big sigh of relief that they got the call right.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 21, 20188:58 pm
14:10 | 4th qtr. Eagles TD — Alshon Jeffery 5 yd. pass from Nick Foles (Jake Elliott kick). PHI 38-7 key
Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 21, 20189:01 pm

14:10 | 4th qtr. Nice job by back judge Todd Prukop on the Jeffrey touchdown. Jeffrey caught the ball and held it awkwardly as he was going to the ground. Prukop waited an extra beat or two to make sure Jeffrey survived the ground. Excellent timing.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 21, 20189:14 pm

This could be a rough final 11 minutes for Hochuli and crew. The game is essentially over. The Eagles are excited and starting to puff their chests out. The Vikings are frustrated and embarrassed. This is a volatile mixture. The crew has already had to break things up a few times.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 21, 20189:38 pm

Eagles 38-7, final

Penalties

  • Vikings — 2/19
  • Eagles — 4/55

Replays

  • 1 booth review: reversed
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 21, 20189:39 pm

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 21, 20189:45 pm

Well, I thought the AFC Championship Game would be the blowout today, but the NFC Championship Game was over basically at halftime and for sure early in the third quarter.

Hochuli and crew really didn’t have any big, consequential calls to make, but this young crew did a very good job. They ran a smooth game and stepped in and called what needed to be called.

The crew did a very nice job and can be proud of their efforts.

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 21, 20189:54 pm

Both crews this weekend turned in incredible, championship-worthy performances. I admit that I had some concern with the fact that there were 3 officials with less than 5 years of seniority. There is a reason why there is a 3-year minimum in order to get a championship game. Those concerns were allayed as it looked like there were seasoned veterans in all positions.

This became a little more difficult of a game as the lead became insurmountable, and some post-play flare-ups meant doing insert-and-separate maneuvers a lot more often. Shawn Smith showed great preventative officiating early on as well.

The early round games can be best described as officiated by “mixed crews.” This week, we see that they truly are “all-star crews.”

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