Update: The NFL has confirmed that Ed Hochuli will be the referee for the AFC Championship game and that Bill Vinovich will be the referee for the NFC Championship game.
Multiple sources have told Football Zebras that Ed Hochuli and Bill Vinovich will work the Conference Championship games next Sunday. Those sources also acknowledged that neither referee has officially been given the assignment, so it is subject to change.
Both Hochuli and Vinovich worked as alternate referees on the sidelines during the Divisional Playoff round. We have been told that the league is testing a procedure to place the Conference Championship referees in the alternate assignments to reduce the off time between the last game of the regular season and the third-round playoff game. The alternate is one of three officials assigned to each playoff game. In case of injury to one of the officials, the appropriate alternate official would replace him or her on the field; alternate officials also help control the sidelines and facilitate communication with the replay booth and the game supervisor.
Based on the assignment of Hochuli and Vinovich to an NFC and AFC divisional game respectively, it is believed that the championship game assignments would switch conferences, thus putting Hochuli in Denver for the Patriots-Broncos game and Bill Vinovich in Charlotte, N.C., for the Cardinals-Panthers.
Again, this is not confirmed, but there is a consensus among our sources that these assignments will be made official on Monday or Tuesday.
The Super Bowl referee still appears to be either Clete Blakeman or Tony Corrente.