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Vinovich appears to be a lock for Super Bowl nod

Referee Bill Vinovich will likely have this crew on hand for Super Bowl XLIX on February 1.




Football Zebras analysis

As reported earlier, each of the Super Bowl officials works a Divisional Playoff game to break up the month-long gap from the end of the regular season. Football Zebras has analyzed the assignments from the divisional round, and has determined the officials that have the best chance at a Super Bowl assignment.

No official has received his assignment yet for Super Bowl XLIX. But, with a high degree of confidence in the selections, these are the officials expected to get to the Super Bowl this year:

[Update: Confirmed assignments posted here.]

Yrs 2014 crew Divisional game
R 52 Bill Vinovich 10 Ravens-Patriots
U 49 Rich Hall 11 Hochuli Ravens-Patriots
HL 8 Dana McKenzie 7 Morelli Cowboys-Packers
LJ 9 Mark Perlman 14 Leavy Panthers-Seahawks
FJ 25 Bob Waggoner 18 Steratore Panthers-Seahawks
SJ 97 Tom Hill 16 Allen Cowboys-Packers
BJ 112 Tony Steratore 15 Boger Ravens-Patriots

Can these change as a result of the performance in the divisional games? It’s possible, but not very likely. There are two known instances where an official was  removed from a Super Bowl crew due to an incident in a playoff game:

Head linesman George Hayward was widely considered amongst his peers to be a shoo-in for Super Bowl XXXVII in the 2002 season. Hayward was on the crew that misapplied the rules on the final play of the Giants-49ers wild card game; although he was not responsible for the missed call, the league considered the rule misapplication a crew error.

Field judge John Robison was pulled from Super Bowl XXXII after a controversial call in the Vikings-Giants wild card game in the 1997 season. Confirmation of Robison’s revoked assignment came when the Super Bowl programs were printed with Robison’s name listed as the field judge.

There is an outside shot that the league bends some of the existing rules and procedures, but this seems to be the most plausible crew assignment for the big game.

[Update 1/9: I replaced the back judge with Tony Steratore, as the other one did not qualify for the Super Bowl based on past playoff experience; I had counted the wrong games that are part of that determination.]

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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