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 (in recent seasons, this is typically a referee, but can be an 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).
Down judge Sarah Thomas received her first on-field postseason assignment, making her the first woman to do so. Replay official Terri Valenti is also assigned to a divisional game.
Also of note, the eventual Super Bowl officials are on the field for this weekend’s games, but not all are from the same crew. Walt Coleman appears to be ending his 30-year career on the sideline, assigned as an alternate this week. He is the only official in NFL history to have worked for 30 seasons and not received a title game assignment.
Saturday, Jan. 12
Colts at Chiefs, 4:35 p.m. NBC
John Hussey is the referee, who is in his 17th season and 4th as referee. This is Hussey’s 11th postseason assignment, including 4 Wild Card Playoffs, 4 Divisional Playoffs, 2 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl XLV.
|R||35||John Hussey||17||Idaho State||sales representative, retail logistics group|
|U||115||Tony Michalek||17||Hussey||Indiana||communications specialist*|
|DJ||28||Mark Hittner||22||Smith||Pittsburg State||investment broker|
|LJ||101||Carl Johnson||15||Wrolstad||Nicholls State||former full-time official|
|SJ||95||James Coleman||14||Smith||Arkansas||electrical engineer|
|BJ||111||Terrence Miles||11||Allen||Arizona State||quality control manager*|
*indicates full-time official
- Replay official: Terri Valenti
- Replay assistant: Jamie Nicholson
- Alternates: Walt Anderson (R), Brian Bolinger (LJ), Aaron Santi (SJ)
Cowboys at Rams, 8:15 p.m. Fox
John Parry is the referee, who is in his 19th season and 12th as referee. This is Parry’s 12th postseason assignment, including 2 Wild Card Playoffs, 7 Divisional Playoffs, 1 Conference Championship, and Super Bowls XLI and XLVI. The first Super Bowl assignment was as a side judge.
|R||132||John Parry||19||Purdue||financial advisor*|
|U||11||Fred Bryan||10||Martin||Northern Iowa||superintendent, juvenile correctional facility*|
|DJ||90||Mike Spanier||20||swing||St Cloud State||middle school principal|
|FJ||104||Dale Shaw||6||Boger||Allegheny||pharmaceutical sales|
|SJ||103||Eugene Hall||5||Cheffers||North Texas||federal agent|
|BJ||112||Tony Steratore||19||Boger||California (Pa.)||co-owner, supply company|
*indicates full-time official
- Replay official: Jim Lapetina
- Replay assistant: Chad Adams
- Alternates: Walt Coleman (R), Derick Bowers (LJ), Steve Patrick (BJ)
Chargers at Patriots, 1:05 p.m. CBS
Ron Torbert is the referee, who is in his 9th season and 5th as referee. This is Torbert’s 7th postseason assignment, including 3 Wild Card Playoffs and 4 Divisional Playoffs; he has received a playoff assignment in every year he was eligible.
|R||62||Ron Torbert||9||Michigan State||attorney|
|U||49||Rich Hall||15||Kemp||Arizona||custom cabinetry|
|DJ||53||Sarah Thomas||4||Torbert||Mobile||sales representative|
|LJ||84||Mark Steinkerchner||25||Torbert||Akron||vice president*|
|FJ||126||Brad Rogers||2||Smith||Lubbock Christian||college professor|
|SJ||3||Scott Edwards||20||Torbert||Alabama||environmental engineer|
|BJ||105||Dino Paganelli||13||Smith||Aquinas College||educator|
*indicates full-time official
- Replay official: Mike Chase
- Replay assistant: Marv LeBlanc
- Alternates: Pete Morelli (R), Walt Coleman IV (LJ), Jabir Walker (SJ)
Eagles at Saints, 4:35 p.m. Fox
Carl Cheffers is the referee, who is in his 19th season and 11th as referee. He has worked 12 postseason assignments, including 4 Wild Card Playoffs, 5 Divisional Playoffs, and 2 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl LI.
|R||51||Carl Cheffers||19||California-Irvine||sales manager|
|U||20||Barry Anderson||12||Cheffers||North Carolina State||builder/developer|
|DJ||134||Ed Camp||19||Hochuli||William Paterson||physical education teacher*|
|LJ||32||Jeff Bergman||27||Kemp||Robert Morris||president and chief executive officer, medical services*|
|FJ||117||John Jenkins||5||Kemp||St. Mary’s||sales executive|
|BJ||46||Perry Paganelli||21||Parry||Hope College||retired high school administrator|
*indicates full-time official
- Replay official: Charles Stewart
- Replay assistant: Jim Grant
- Alternates: Craig Wrolstad (R), Byron Boston (LJ), Jim Quirk (BJ)
24 thoughts on “Hussey, Parry, Torbert, and Cheffers are Divisional Playoff referees”
I think Ron Torbert gets the SB.
First on-field playoff assignment for Sarah Thomas.
The crews of Morelli and Coleman have been shut out as far as working on the field in the first 2 rounds. My guess at the SB crew:
R: Ron Torbert
U: Rich Hall
DJ: Mark Hittner
LJ: Mark Steinkerchner
FJ: Steve Zimmer (easiest pick as he is the only eligible FJ working a divisional playoff)
SJ: Eugene Hall (only other eligible SJ would be James Coleman)
BJ: Tony Steratore
So happy for Sarah Thomas to be the first woman to officiate a playoff game! She deserves this assignment. She had a great year. Yet another crack in that glass ceiling.
I thought Camp was better than Hittner
Interesting … If Al Riveron had wanted to, he could have put the five members of Shawn Smith’s crew (U Bryan, DJ Hittner, FJ Rogers, SJ Coleman, BJ D. Paganellli) with Spanier (swing) at LJ and given them to any of the referees. After all, Ron Torbert has three members of his crew (DJ Thomas, LJ Steinkerchner, SJ Edwards) working with him this Sunday in New England.
Surprised Paul King (U) isnâ€™t working. Had a great playoff run up until last year.
Katie – Really? Why does Sarah deserve the assignment?
Have you worked with her? Do you have any insight to her ability and her performance this year?
Please elaborate why you think she is deserving and had a great year.
@Micheal – how many games did you watch that you feel you have the insight to proclaim that Camp was better than Hittner?
@ Knowledge Is Good – No news is good news. I’ve looked through all the comments on the week-by-week analyses and no mention of Sarah Thomas, so obviously people were not disgusted enough to mention her. Meaning she is at least average with no major gaffes, therefore tier II and worthy of a playoff assignment.
That’s because they manage to cover up a lot of her mistakes and flaws like they do for every female official. Don’t worry she won’t be the last. Amanda Sauer has been on the list and pulled through the ranks. She’s absolutely awful, but it helps with her gender, her newest marital situation, and oh..forgot to mention her family has ownership in the Pittsburgh Steelers.
My prediction is either Perry or Cheffers gets the SB
@Chris Using Google there is no evidence to back up your claim that her family has ownership in the Steelers. She ain’t a Rooney.
Folllwing Dan Rooneyâ€™s death in 2017, his son brought in some outside investors. It is not initially obvious who Amanda Sauer-Cook is related to, but the NFL would know. When David Boston was in the NFL his father, Byron Boston, would not officiate any of his games. Similarly, in the short career of Tra Boger (now an official himself in SEC) his father, Jerome Boger, would be swapped out of his games. It is not just in the NFL. MLB regularly moved around Jim Wolf if there was the possibility that he would be the plate umpire when his brother, Randy Wolf, would be pitching.
Look up Swank..it’s her maiden name. They are minority owners.. oh and there will be more to come for they are being pushed way up Carollo’s pipeline because he’s getting pressure to do so. I’ve heard from actual big 10 officials where they aren’t held to the same standards. Coaches tend to leave them alone as well.
Sarah is not a good DJ. She is in the bottom 5 in the league. And, the overall quality has been dropping recently.
There are probably 50 HLs working college better than she is. But … the league wanted this. Oh, and everything Chris said is correct about the college official Sauer. I have seen two of her MAC games on the tube and yikes! But, only seen her on tv. Sadly, in today’s NFL – Sarah has company in the ranks of bad DJs.
I won’t trash all the worst ones … but the best are Mello, Hittner, Mackenzie, Turner and Ed Camp making a comeback. Bergman, Stelljes still pretty good. Some of the guys are a bit long in the tooth and on the decline, and a few are quite new and the jury is out still. While I am on a rant – why did the NFL move Bradley and Payne to LJ? Isn’t that a demotion from DJ? Those 2 guys were good.
Bottom line … it’s her 4th year and they had to include her in the playoffs or Hugo her. The latter would have been a better decision … but, the NFL is too PC for that.
Good catch. I didn’t know the marital thing. But, now, well, I think we have the next Brad Allen. From college to white hat. It’s meant to be.
The NFL considers any non-Referee on-field position to be equivalent to each other. Payne and others were moved because the NFL had run into a situation where a number of the good LJ had retired so they were left with some rookies and lesser quality veterans. Not wanting to pair them with a poor HL (as the position was called at the time) they asked Payne and others to swap positions so they could balance things out. You also saw a lot of FJ/SJ swaps at the same time because of the quality/experience imbalance.
DJ and LJ are similar positions so I would not say being moved from DJ to LJ is a demotion at all. Payne is one of the best Officials in the NFL right now no matter what position he is working.
Thomas is horrible. She did a home Bengals game I attended and had to pick up a flag for an illegal formation. How ridiculous is that? Canâ€™t count how many are in the backfield or see whoâ€™s covered up? Come on. She is TERRIBLE! Iâ€™m a LINESMAN in high school and Iâ€™m better than that!
Itâ€™s been said before: kin, skin, and sex is what gets you into NFL officiating. SAD!
Walt Coleman being shut out of the Super Bowl for 30 years is disgraceful! He is a very competent referee and Iâ€™ve always thought heâ€™s consistent. I guess that no longer counts? How did Jerome Borger ever get the Super Bowl???
Tom I think you answered your own question on how Borger got a super bowl…he’s awful and so hard to understand half the time, but Gerry Austin is a big push for the minority and if you look at his conf usa, you will see they are some of the worst officials.
Bergman has a son that is up and coming so it won’t’ be long. Only took him 3 years to get a bowl game and keep an eye on Robin DeLorenzo in the MAC. Only took her a year to get on the NFL list so she may be that good…haha…I’ve seen her and she’s so small and just hasn’t seen enough football at that level. There’s many more and I can go on.
Plenty of good officials that are kin – Bergmans, Hochulis, Steratores etc and plenty of good skin – Torbert, Bradley, Turner etc.
Sadly, because so many get in on skin or kin — questions arise.
As for the female thing. Pure PC stupidity. Women do not play football and should not be involved as officials.
Wow, I had no idea that football referee fans were such bigots. This comment section is absurd. Old white men should be the only one’s doing anything, right? Just wow. And by this own website’s assessment of the game, she did a good job. Well done Sarah, keep it up sister.
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