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Week 17 referee assignments

The games of Week 17 will all be played on Sunday. The regular season will come to a close with referee Bill Vinovich — who closed out last year’s postseason in the Super Bowl — as the Vikings and the Packers battle for the NFC North title. Games are grouped generally by the impact they have on the playoffs. Teams in italics are seeking a playoff berth. Jerome Boger’s crew and, individually, Jeff Triplette are off this week. (Boger and Triplette swapped bye weeks.)

Sunday, Jan. 3

Games with division title implications

  • Raiders at Chiefs — Tony Corrente
  • Chargers at Broncos — Ron Torbert
  • Vikings at Packers NBC — Bill Vinovich

Games for wild card berth

  • Jets at Bills — Walt Anderson
  • Steelers at Browns — Pete Morelli

Games for top seed positions

  • Patriots at Dolphins — Ed Hochuli
  • Ravens at Bengals — Carl Cheffers
  • Seahawks at Cardinals — Brad Allen
  • Buccaneers at Panthers — Jerome Boger (with Jeff Triplette’s crew)

(also includes Broncos)

No playoff implications

  • Jaguars at Texans* — Terry McAulay
  • Titans at Colts* — Clete Blakeman
  • Washington at Cowboys — John Parry
  • Eagles at Giants — Gene Steratore
  • Lions at Bears — John Hussey
  • Saints at Falcons — Craig Wrolstad
  • Rams at 49ers — Walt Coleman

*-Note: Texans are relatively assured of winning the division, although there are playoff implications for Colts in specific 9-game scenario.

End of the regular season

From Football Zebras editor Ben Austro

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39 thoughts on “Week 17 referee assignments

  1. The Buccaneers are actually going to the Panthers not the other way around, as it is here. The Panthers were in Tampa back in October. It should be Buccaneers @ Panthers. Thanks

  2. We can only hope that Terry Mcaulay’s career in the NFL ends this week in Houston. Turnover in the industry is a must in order to maintain excellence. Its time for Terry to sell insurance Monday thru Friday and enjoy his kids on the weekend.

    Quits the union because his boss rightfully tells him that he’s not perfect. An arrogant prick he is, but more importantly, not a very good referee right now.

    We should focus on who is doing a good job. Coleman and Anderson have stood out this year.

  3. Ben Tell me why Gene Steratore Did Not Get A Playoff Game this year. As a Friend and a Fan Of Gene Steratore this really makes me emotionally upset because i was looking forward again this january to see him on tv again 🙁

  4. Since this is a pretty knowledgeable group… would be curious to know who you guys think are the worst officials in the league. It seems as if this is one of those well kept secrets. Everyone in the community knows but the public is clueless. Heard many grumblings about 42 (justified) and 23 (not as justified) on the subject of competence. But, what about the HL, LJ, SJ, U, BJ, FJ positions. Who are the really weak links? Anyone care to name numbers?

    I have seen some blatant incompetence this year from some of the officials.

    Why can’t they weed out the bad eggs?

  5. I don’t think you get how unions work Leroy. McAulay got screwed by Quirk and the NFLRA here. It is not the union’s job to publicly critique the performance of its members, period. If they had a problem with what he did, they should address it privately with the official(s) involved, and possibly management if it warrants it. Let the NFL and Blandino make the criticisms, and if they go over the top, defend the official.

    If Quirk had simply discussed the issues with McAulay in private, this whole story would be a non-story. But what he did is completely unacceptable as the head of the NFLRA (which is strange since he would’ve gone to the mat for ANY official 2-3 years ago. He needs to issue a public apology to McAulay’s entire crew or resign immediately.

  6. In response Anon, whether a person believes Quirk was right or wrong, Terry Mcaulay is a horse’s ass………and a below average referee.

    If you believe Quirk should resign, you also should believe that Mcaulay’s last game of his career is Sunday in Houston.

    We all hope this is the case.

  7. Heading into the last weekend of the regular season, who are you predicting to go deep into the playoffs? Wrolstad has to be in the conversation.

  8. 1. I don’t know what McAulay is like off the field, and neither do you. What I (and everyone but you) know is that he is not below average, since no below average official would work 3 Super Bowls and 6 Conference Championships.

    2. What Quirk did goes against the spirit of the NFLRA; that deserves punishment for him. McAulay can’t be held accountable for the actions of the deep officials (the ones who should’ve disqualified OBJ.) To believe his last game is Sunday is laughable.

    3. From what I gather, you’re the only one who wants your scenario to happen. Everyone else with common sense knows that McAulay will be in the playoffs and next season too. Please don’t speak for everyone else.

  9. Do NOT read anything into these assignments. The season when Bill Leavy got Super Bowl XL, his week 17 assignment was Houston at San Francisco, both of which were 2-13 going in.

  10. I helped train Terry McCaulay when he began his high school officiating career. He is dedicated to the game and certainly one of the best and most knowledgeable officials on the field. He is deserving of future playoff games and another Super Bowl.

  11. Nick,
    You must owe Steratore money for I never seen anyone so dedicated to such a mediocre offical, and (from credible, LOCKROOM sources) very cocky. If you know him so well, will you PLEASE tell him that when he wears long sleeves they should reach his wrists and not mid-forearm. Moreover, to stand still when he gives signals rather than his “look-at-me-as-I-am-about-to-do-something-here” swagger and side-to-side swaying. More evidence, look at him in 2012 as he came on to the field when the lockout was over…he smiles at the crowd, waves his hat and inflates his ego. Rule 1 or 2 of officiating ANY sport: don’t call attention to yourself on purpose (a.k.a make your self bigger than the game itself). How quickly everyone forgets that may of the replacements were (and still are) very good officials, ESPECIALLY when you look at the terrible, BIG-TIME problems the last 3 years.

  12. Donny Bikowski, training Terry Mcaulay to be the referee he is today is not something you want others to know. It doesn’t shed a favorable light on your abilities.

    There are many good referees working right now. Terry Mcaulay isn’t one of them.

    My voice is not alone in wanting his last game to be Sunday in Houston.

    Everyone wins that way. The league wins….the fans certainly win….and the game is better for it.

    I wish you could focus on the referees doing outstanding work instead of always complimenting a below average referee.

  13. Leroy, how about we change the subject.

    There are currently 17 referees in the league; tell me the 5 that you like best, in no particular order, and why they are the ones you like.

  14. These assignments are set 4 weeks or so in advance. Aside from a few headline SNF games, they spread the assignments around. PITvsCLE on paper isn’t a marquee matchup.

  15. Good luck, John. By frequenting this site, you’ll “learn” everything you could possibly want to know about who thinks who is a TERRIBLE referee — among the worst — and “why” (usually something like his shirt sleeve length). But you’ll almost NEVER read about who thinks who is a GREAT referee — among the best — and “why” (seriously, let’s hear the criteria for a GREAT referee and how you know ANYTHING about that referee beyond what you see on television or the coincidence that his crew happened to work an exciting game that your team won).

  16. Tripplet & Boger traded games. Tripplet worked on Bogers crew last week so Boger is working on Tripplet’s crew this week.

  17. I will say Coleman’s crew did a pretty good job for the Eagles/Redskins game last week. I don’t say that often about his crew. As far as Steratore goes, it’s not a shirt on the short side- he rolls the sleeves up a little bit- something he’s always done. Who cares. Hochuli’s crew has been a disappointment the last two years missing a LOT of calls. I know his crew generally likes to let the players play the game more than other crews but his old crew was more accurate and consistent more than the other crew for a long time. They rarely made bad calls. Not any more.

  18. If there should be any ref being blasted for being terrible it’s not McAuley its Triplette.

  19. I haven’t heard too much said about the new refs in these last two years which is probably a good thing…..

  20. Jerome? Spot on again. By the way, McAulay was fired after his first year in the ECAC. Then for some reason the ACC picked him up, and he was on his way…..then again, the ACC traditionally has the worst D1 officials of all the major conferences.

  21. Here we have on the Cards game old Mikey P talking about how insane it is to split up the crews for playoff games. (And the idiot announcers again using the misnomer “all-star crews.”) Mike correctly blamed this on the union wanting to get as many guys as possible into the playoff games. He gets it. How about big old gutted FJ 67 chomping on that gum like a cow on chewing his cud! How unprofessional. Amazing they allow these guys to chomp gum while working the game. And allowing them to continue to work year after year with a big ol’ gut…..

  22. Can someone explain why the NFL refs seems to be only refs in pro sports to not be full time officials?

  23. There are no full time officials. All baseball umpires have other jobs. As does basketball refs too.

  24. Dave and Jaime: NBA, NHL and MLB officials are full time, salaried league employees. NFL officials are the only officials in a major sport who are part time, and it shows in the high quality of officiating in those 3 sports.

    The NFL official’s union has many protections in place for the weaker officials, and that is why we continue to see the generally inferior work product on a weekly basis.

    A few years ago, the owners tried to fix the issue of incompetence on the field, as well as the officiating pay structure. The main overriding concern with the pay structure was the pension. Why pay a pension and outrageous salary to part time workers? You don’t think these owners watch where every penny goes, no matter how much money they are making? It really was all about the pensions. They figured if they could get qualified officials into the mix at $3500 per game plus expenses and no pension benefits, they would be well ahead of the game and not be saddled with paying outrageous pensions to these guys for 20 to 30 years after they “retired” from this part time gig. The plan almost succeeded, except for the fact that one of the prime operators of the training and selection of the officials (no longer an employee, by the way) did not permit the very accomplished D1 R’s to work the R position; and also put together about 3 or 4 crews that were not good enough to work this level. He then scheduled these weak crews for key games, in the hopes they would screw up and apply pressure to the league, so he could get his kin back on the field.

    The replacement gig would have worked, had that play in Seattle not occurred. If that play never occurred, this website would be non-existent today because there would not be a weekly outcry about the level of officiating incompetence we see every week during the season.

    About 2/3s of the replacement officials (mostly accomplished D1 and D2 college officials who actually labored at their craft, refined their craft over the years, knew how to perform and did not screw up like we see today simply because they were under enormous pressure to perform correctly, with the risk of termination hanging over their head if they screwed up) would have been hired full time the next season, a third of the “regular” officials (a fair division of competent vs. incompetent) would have been re-hired, with no union contract. And like MLB/NBA/NHL officials, where there are not too many complaints, the NFL officials today would be in the same boat and held in the same esteem as the other major sports officials. Qualified at what they do, and held accountable for when they screw up.
    Because of that one call in Seattle on Monday night, the league is now saddled with a large amount (notice I do not say all) of officials who have no business working D1 football, let alone NFL football. Officiating major D1 and NFL games is truly not difficult, if you are well trained in the rules, well versed in the mechanics and possess that “It” factor which the superior official (truly superior, not perceived) possesses. It truly is not that difficult. Been there. Done that. I don’t care what anyone says about the “speed of the game” (a standard excuse) because for the truly excellent official, he is able to slow the game down, and slow it down some more, to see what he needs to see. The problem with a very large percentage on the current staff boils down to one trait – extreme arrogance. Those of us who have been around the block a few hundred times know exactly what I am talking about, and I will leave it at that.

  25. You still haven’t told us which retired vet you are Crusty? When’s that gonna happen?

    And Leroy? You are truly something else.

  26. Crusty – while you have made a lot of good points, I have to disagree with one of them. That play in Seattle was the straw that broke the camels back. If, as you say, there is not a big difference in officiating D1 and the NFL, then there is no excuse for the disgrace we witnessed for the first four games where the officials had no clue of what they were doing. As far as I’m concerned, the NFL has grown to a greedy, billion dollar empire over time and can easily afford to pay the best to hire the best. The problem is the lack of enforcement from the NFL on bad officials. Goodell is the worst commish ever to begin with. The same guy not afraid to go after players on charges that never hold up in the courts is afraid of the officials. This is not an NFL problem as all four major sports have problems with officials/umpires who are out of control as their unions are out of control. The owners don’t care as long as they make $$$$$$$$ from the fans watching their product regardless of how bad it is managed…….

  27. I, too, have been out there on Sundays, and Crusty Vet is right…the game slows down for those who are meant to be out there. Ask anyone in the front office in 2012, and there were at least a dozen replacements who could have (and still should be) out there on Sundays. No union for part-timers and no pension!! 6-8K a game with all expenses paid, and if you screw up enough (like awarding 3 timeouts at three different times in a season a la Sarah Thomas, you’re out; thanks for trying).

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