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2020 Divisional Playoffs

More first-time officials in the playoffs this weekend

Three officials make their playoff debuts this weekend, Clay Martin returns to the field



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Last week, 10 officials officiated their first-ever playoff game.

Senior vice president of officiating training and development, Walt Anderson, has assigned three more officials to their first career playoff game and one referee is calling his first playoff game as a white hat.

Also, two officials are making a return to the playoffs after an absence.

The first-timers are:

  • Field judge Ryan Dickson, number 25 (third year eligible, alternate last year — pictured above)
  • Umpire Terry Killens, number 77 (first year eligible, former NFL player)
  • Down judge Tripp Sutter, number 37 (first year eligible)

Also, referee Clay Martin makes his playoff debut as a white hat weeks after being hospitalized. Martin missed the last few weeks of the season due to being on the league’s covid-19 list. In a statement to KJRH-TV, Martin’s family commented:

Our family continues to be thankful for all of the support we’ve received. We’re very thankful that Clay is well enough to come home. We continue to be thankful for all of the support so many have provided.

Martin worked a wild card game as an umpire in 2016. He was promoted to referee in 2018 and had an alternate assignment last year.

Two officials return to the playoffs after a few seasons absence.

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  • Back judge Greg Yette, number 38 (last playoff game 2012, 2014 Pro Bowl, four alternate assignments)
  • Field judge David Meslow, number 118 (last playoff game 2014, three alternate assignments — pictured above)

Traditionally Super Bowl officials work a divisional playoff game, but we’ll see if Anderson does things differently this year.

Good luck to all the officiating crews this weekend!

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?"