Connect with us

2020 Conference Championships

5 observations from championship weekend, 2020

There are 5 things that stuck out to me as I zebra-watched my way though conference championship weekend.



We’ve made it all the way through the conference championships, and here are my officiating impressions from the weekend.

1. Umpire hustle

Both Barry Anderson and Ramon George showed lots of hustle this weekend. It is hard to see in snippets of them running through the frame, but experienced zebra-watchers could tell Anderson and George were on the move.

A mobile umpire can enhance the game flow. The sooner the ball is ready, the sooner we can get back to game action.

Anderson has been a top tier umpire for the last few seasons. Look for Ramon George to get a Super Bowl soon.

2. Good team work

We saw several examples of officials double checking with crew mates this weekend for routine calls and crazy moments. It is always good for the crew to check twice and signal once.

One excellent example of team work was during the end of the Chiefs-Bills game as there were several fouls, and field judge Tom Hill helped referee Bill Vinovich keep everything straight in his announcement.

3. Major rules gaffe

Between seven officials, seven alternates, the replay booth, the alternate replay officials and centralized replay, there were about 20 people who could have stepped in to point out the replay rules.

While any official could have stepped in, replay officials and the centralized replay staff should have gotten this one right.

4. Good work by Vinovich crew to douse the tinder box

Late in the game, as the Bills knew all was lost, several players got frustrated and their frustrations boiled over into a fight.

All seven officials went into action. Note in the clip above, even the alternates tried to help restore order.

Vinovich and his veteran crew deserve praise for their work to keep a lid on things and prevent the end of the game from turning into a bad scene.

5. Let them play in the secondary

It appeared that the officials let quite a bit go in the secondary this weekend compared to the regular season. But, there could have been a few more flags in the secondary.

It is a fine line between letting them play and enforcing fair play.

Two weeks of hype!

One more football game to go this season (unless you’re an official who is calling games this spring at the college or high school level).

We’ll be following any and all officiating news during the coming two weeks. And, be sure to follow our Super Bowl LV officiating live blog on February 7.

Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"