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Hochuli and Vinovich are Conference Championship referees


Football Zebras has confirmed the assignment of referees Ed Hochuli and Bill Vinovich to the Conference Championship games on Sunday, as previously reported. Hochuli will have the AFC game between the Patriots and Broncos; Vinovich will be heading the crew for the NFC title match between the Cardinals and Panthers.


AFC Championship Game, Patriots at Broncos, 3 p.m. ET (CBS)

Ed Hochuli is in his 26th year as an official and 24th as referee. Hochuli will be working his 24th postseason game, the most by far of any active official (8 Wild Card Playoffs, 6 Divisional Playoffs, 8 Conference Championships, and Super Bowls XXXII and XXXVIII). His 10 assignments between conference and league title games is tied with Terry McAulay for the most among active officials.

His most recent postseason game was the Wild Card game between the Cardinals and Panthers — the two teams in the NFC Championship Game.

Hochuli lives in San Diego and is a partner of the Arizona-based law firm Jones, Skelton and Hochuli. His son, Shawn, joined the NFL in 2014.

         Yrs 2015 crew College Occupation
R 85 Ed Hochuli 26    Texas-El Paso attorney
U 49 Rich Hall 12 Boger Arizona custom cabinetry
HL 28 Mark Hittner 19 Wrolstad Pittsburg State investment broker
LJ 101 Carl Johnson 12 Blakeman Nicholls State full-time official
FJ 109 Dyrol Prioleau 9 Triplette Johnson C Smith manager, law firm
SJ 56 Allen Baynes 8 Hussey Auburn realtor
BJ 112 Tony Steratore 16 Boger California (Pa.) co-owner, supply company


  • Replay official: Bob McGrath
  • Replay assistant: Brian Matoren
  • Alternates: John Parry (R), Mike Spanier (LJ), Jon Lucivansky (SJ)
  • Supervisor: Garth DeFelice
  • Observer: Al Riveron

NFC Championship Game, Cardinals at Panthers, 6:40 p.m. ET (Fox)

Bill Vinovich was the referee in last year’s Super Bowl XLIX, which means he has graded at or near the top in consecutive seasons. Although Vinovich is in his 11th year as an official — and 8th as referee — those seasons were not consecutive, as Vinovich was sidelined with an aortic aneurysm in 2006. He left the field to work in the league office as an officiating supervisor and grader. Doctors gave Vinovich a clean bill of health, and he returned to the field after the 2012 labor impasse with the referee’s union.

Vinovich was hired by the NFL in 2001, making this his 15th season of NFL service.

This is his 8th postseason assignment and 2nd Conference Championship. He has also worked 2 Wild Card Playoffs, 3 Divisional Playoffs, and the Super Bowl.

Vinovich lives in Lake Forest, Calif., and is a Division I college basketball referee and a certified public accountant.

         Yrs 2015 crew College Occupation
R 52 Bill Vinovich 11    San Diego accountant, former NFL officiating supervisor
U 64 Dan Ferrell 13 Corrente Cal State-Fullerton director, parts logistics and supply chain management
HL 79 Kent Payne 12 Cheffers Nebraska Wesleyan teacher
LJ 18 Byron Boston 21 Anderson Austin tax consultant
FJ 33 Steve Zimmer 19 Wrolstad Hofstra attorney
SJ 73 Joe Larrew 14 Blakeman St Louis attorney
BJ 111 Terrence Miles 8 Cheffers Arizona State quality control manager


  • Replay official: Larry Nemmers
  • Replay assistant: Mark Butterworth
  • Alternates: Walt Coleman (R), Paul King (U), Mark Steinkerchner (LJ)
  • Supervisor: Neely Dunn

From Football Zebras editor Ben Austro

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Ben Austro
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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14 thoughts on “Hochuli and Vinovich are Conference Championship referees

  1. Byron Boston?! Really? must be his swan song…watch him “move” on the sidelines. Needs to hang them up.

  2. @Lorenzo Antonio

    Thanks. We had a database issue which mixed up the crew assignments. Thought we fixed them all, but that one slipped through. Appreciate it.

  3. How is it that Jon Lucivansky is only an alternate? He has been on the field for a playoff game the last several years and in my opinion, is one of the best down field officials in the league.

  4. Can’t believe Ed got the AFC game. He is well past his prime. This game will take forrrrrevvver!

  5. I did not know officials who are alternates in the playoffs could still work later, as is the case with Bill Vinovich. Congratulations to him.

  6. I agree with the Lucivansky observation. He is one of the best. Jon was a student of mine in high school, and I was on a crew with him for a few years after he graduated, refereeing high school games. Taught him everything I know about refereeing, which took 3-4 minutes.

  7. What’s up, the whole thing is going well here and ofcourse every one is sharing information, that’s truly
    good, keep up writing.

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