Football Zebras has confirmed the referees for the Divisional Playoffs. Officials are listed with their uniform number, years of NFL experience (including this season), the crew each official worked with in the regular season (by the referee’s name), college, and outside occupation.
All times are Eastern.
This year, the NFL has moved to four alternates for the early postseason rounds, up one from previous years. In the past two seasons, no alternates were assigned in the umpire position, in order to ensure a white hat alternate was available in every game. Now, the alternates officials are a referee, an umpire, a line of scrimmage official (down judge or line judge), and a deep official (field judge, side judge, or back judge).
The prior playoff experience that is listed for the crew chief includes his service as an NFL official, including as referee and any other crew position (excluding alternate assignments). Also of note, the eventual Super Bowl officials are on the field for this weekend’s games, but not all are from the same crew.
Saturday, Jan. 11
NFC Divisional: Vikings at 49ers, 4:35 p.m. NBC
Walt Anderson is the referee, who is in his 24th season and 17th as referee. This is Anderson’s 18th postseason assignment, including 8 Wild Card Playoffs, 3 Divisional Playoffs, 5 Conference Championships, and Super Bowls XXXV and XLV. His first Super Bowl assignment was as a line judge.
|R||66||Walt Anderson||24||Texas||former college officiating coordinator, retired dentist|
|U||115||Tony Michalek||18||Rogers||Indiana||communications specialist|
|DJ||53||Sarah Thomas||5||Torbert||Mobile||sales representative|
|FJ||31||Mearl Robinson||3||Vinovich||Air Force||instructor|
|SJ||41||Boris Cheek||24||Corrente||Morgan State||director of operations and management|
|BJ||93||Scott Helverson||17||Wrolstad||Iowa||sales, printing and promotions|
- Replay official: Brian Matoren
- Replay assistant: Kevin Stine
- Alternates: Craig Wrolstad (R), Carl Paganelli (U), Greg Bradley (LJ), David Meslow (FJ)
AFC Divisional: Titans at Ravens, 8:15 p.m. CBS
Bill Vinovich is the referee, who is in his 14th season and 11th as referee. This is his 13th postseason assignment, including 3 Wild Card Playoffs, 5 Divisional Playoffs, 4 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl XLIX.
|R||52||Bill Vinovich||14||San Diego||certified public accountant|
|U||20||Barry Anderson||13||Allen||North Carolina State||builder/developer|
|DJ||79||Kent Payne||16||Rogers||Nebraska Wesleyan||teacher|
|LJ||45||Jeff Seeman||18||Cheffers||Minnesota||brokerage sales|
|FJ||36||Anthony Jeffries||2||Corrente||Alabama-Birmingham||medical sales|
|SJ||103||Eugene Hall||6||Cheffers||North Texas||federal agent|
|BJ||12||Greg Steed||17||Rogers||Howard||computer systems analyst|
- Replay official: Mike Chase
- Replay assistant: Marv LeBlanc
- Alternates: Brad Allen (R), Steve Woods (U), Walt Coleman IV (LJ), Matt Edwards (BJ)
Sunday, Jan. 12
AFC Divisional: Texans at Chiefs, 3:05 p.m. CBS
Shawn Hochuli is the referee, who is in his 6th season and 2nd as referee. This is Hochuli’s 4th postseason assignment, and his first as referee. His first three assignments, 1 Wild Card Playoff and 2 Divisional Playoffs, were as a back judge.
|R||83||Shawn Hochuli||6||Claremont||financial advisor|
|U||121||Paul King||11||Hochuli||Nichols College||teacher|
|DJ||134||Ed Camp||20||Hochuli||William Paterson||physical education teacher|
|LJ||101||Carl Johnson||16||Hussey||Nicholls State||former full-time official|
|FJ||72||Michael Banks||18||Cheffers||Illinois State||carpenter foreman|
|SJ||125||Chad Hill||2||Novak||Mississippi||medical sales|
|BJ||88||Brad Freeman||6||Hussey||Mississippi State||sports park director|
- Replay official: Carl Madsen
- Replay assistant: Tyler Cerimeli
- Alternates: Tony Corrente (R), Rich Hall (U), Danny Short (DJ), Joe Larrew (FJ)
NFC Divisional: Seahawks at Packers, 6:40 p.m. FOX
Clete Blakeman is the referee, who is in his 12th season and 10th as referee. This is Blakeman’s 10th postseason assignment, including 4 Wild Card Playoffs, 3 Divisional Playoffs, 2 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl 50.
|U||128||Ramon George||4||Novak||Lenoir-Rhyne||vice president, operations|
|DJ||8||Dana McKenzie||12||Corrente||Toledo||claims adjuster|
|LJ||32||Jeff Bergman||28||Kemp||Robert Morris||president and chief executive officer, medical services|
|FJ||50||Aaron Santi||5||Rogers||Southern Oregon||middle school principal|
|SJ||104||Dale Shaw||7||Kemp||Allegheny||pharmaceutical sales|
|BJ||46||Perry Paganelli||22||Blakeman||Hope College||retired high school administrator|
- Replay official: Jimmy Oldham
- Replay assistant: Yvonda Lewis
- Alternates: Clay Martin (R), Dan Ferrell (U), Tim Podraza (LJ), James Coleman (SJ)
12 thoughts on “Anderson, Vinovich, Hochuli, and Blakeman are Divisional Playoff referees”
So, if a ref can only have 2 assignments (on-field or alternate) in a postseason, this would disqualify Anderson and Vinovich from the Super Bowl. Hochuli wouldn’t be eligible because he’s been a referee for only 2 years.
Therefore, barring any weird stuff from the league office, congratulations to Clete Blakeman on earning Super Bowl LIV.
I’m calling it now, Bill Vinovich is your Super Bowl referee.
When will the full crew be posted
Looks like at least 2 controversies this weekend. I believe the NFL loves this
Walt Anderson is my guess for the Superbowl
I truly believe that either Ron Torbert or Brad Allen get the Super Bowl
So now that the crews are posted another theory bites the dust. Since Ramon George is the U for Blakeman and he is not eligible for the SB does this eliminate Blakeman. I think it does because the R and U usually work the divisional game together. I think Vinovich is now the favorite to work the game.
If the umpire was not superbowl eligible the referee can still officiate the superbowl
Will Wrolstad get Conference championship game?
My guess is that Hussey and Cheffers get the Conference Championships. Wrolstad, Corrente, and Allen have already had two assignments this postseason. We havenâ€™t seen Ron Torbert, but I would think if the league thought he was CC caliber we would have already seen him.
It could also be Shawn Smith. The league likes him a lot, and heâ€™s already worked a CC as an umpire as well as working a playoff game every year of eligibility. It does seem like kind of a stretch for them to give a CC to a second-year referee, though.
Wrolstad has worked a playoff game before but not this postseason this weekend as a alternate but I think that torbert and wrolstad get the conference championship game
I canâ€™t believe Sarah Thomas was selected. Has she learned to count the number on the line of scrimmage? Iâ€™ve seen her throw two flags that had to be picked up in Cincinnati because she couldnâ€™t get the illegal formation call right. Pitiful!
Clete Blakeman would be a good pick for the Super Bowl
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