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2021 conference championship odds and ends

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Here are some interesting officiating factoids to consider as we watch the NFC and AFC Championship games, lead by Bill Vinovich and Carl Cheffers (pictured above). For all statistics, we include on-field assignments, not alternate assignments. Pro Bowl assignments are also excluded.

Congratulations to the first-timers!

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Congratulation to field judge Mearl Robinson and side judge Jonah Monroe for being assigned their first-ever conference championship game.

Monroe (pictured above) has auditioned for the referee position in the past. Could this be his last game wearing the black hat?

Lots of experience on these crews

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Hat tip to “russ” from our affiliated message board Behind the Football Stripes for researching these nuggets for the championship crews:

  • Bill Vinovich has worked a conference championship or Super Bowl in seven of the last eight seasons.
  • Field judge Tom Hill (above) calls his fourth straight conference championship. He has worked 10 conference championships or Super Bowls in the last 13 seasons, and he’s called 24 playoff games in 23 seasons.
  • Back judge Greg Meyer calls his 7th championship game.
  • This is umpire Paul King’s third championship game. He hasn’t called a Super Bowl, yet.
  • Eugene Hall has worked a championship game or Super Bowl in the past five seasons.
  • While Greg Steed has called two Super Bowls since 2007, this is his first conference championship game since 2007.

The Perlman double

Line judge Mark Perlman is the only non-Super Bowl official to call two games on the field this post-season. We do not know if the NFL wanted Perlman to call both games, or if an official was originally slotted into the conference championship and couldn’t do the game for some reason beyond that official’s control. No matter the reason, this is Perlman’s fourth conference championship, his 19th straight season calling a playoff game on the field, and his 24th playoff game in 21 seasons.

Those 24 postseason assignments for Perlman and Hill are tied with down judge Mark Hittner (who worked last week’s Bills-Chiefs classic) for the most of all active officials. The all-time record is 28, held by umpire Al Conway who worked from 1969 (in the AFL) to 1996.

Here’s hoping for great games and outstanding calls from all 14 officials working this weekend!

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Mark Schultz
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?"

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