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2014

Super Bowl officials will work divisional playoff games

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The Divisional Playoff officiating assignments bear close watching, as we can confirm that the Super Bowl XLIX officials will be assigned a divisional playoff game.  The Super Bowl officials will be the only officials assigned to two postseason games.

It used to be that Super Bowl officials came out of the Wild Card round, but now it is one round later. This policy has been in effect since the 2012 season. I predicted Morelli for the Super Bowl, but his Wild Card assignment took him out of the running for the big game — before the Lions and Cowboys kicked off.

While the NFL does not assign all seven Super Bowl officials as a unit to a divisional playoff game, it has and can assign officiating “partners” to one game as a tune up for the Super Bowl.  For instance, the NFL might assign the Super Bowl referee and umpire to one divisional game, the Super Bowl head linesman and side judge to another divisional game, and so on.

So, if you want to guess the Super Bowl XLIX crew, look at the Divisional Playoff round officials and you’ll have a 25 percent chance to be right!

[Above: The Super Bowl XIX crew from 30 years ago.]

Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"

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