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2022 Divisional Playoffs

4 observations from the divisional playoff weekend

Here are four officiating things that jumped out to me during divisional playoff weekend.



The conference championships are coming at us like a freight train, but before the semi-finals kick off, here are a few thoughts from the divisional playoff weekend.

1. Nice and smooth

All four crews called a great game this weekend. Each referee is a divisional playoff veteran. So the lights didn’t burn too bright on the white hat. The younger officials stepped up and made some terrific calls and the veterans showed they are still at the top of their game. Honestly, any of the officials working last weekend could work the Super Bowl.

2. Close calls, nary a peep

The two calls that jumped out to me this weekend belong to the wing officials. Line judge Rusty Baynes made an awesome call to wind the clock during the Dallas Cowboys desperate comeback attempt.

And line judge Greg Bradley was bang on with a spot inches short of a first down, forcing a punt.

Remember, Baynes and Bradley made these calls once in real time. If Bradley or Baynes sneezed or blinked, they would have missed it. Awesome work!

3. Seriously, not even a pass interference controversy?

All the pass interference calls were there this weekend. Even the bang-bang calls were accepted without squawking. That tells me that the officials only called the felonies and didn’t nit pick. But, give the officials credit for flagging the felony pass interference calls.

Or, they got lucky this weekend and there weren’t any close pass interference calls. I believe my first theory.

4. Rare calls this weekend.

When was the last time you saw defensive holding called on a lineman during a running play? How about a tripping foul? Officials threw flags for both of these fouls this weekend. That is excellent rules recall and reflexes.

Three more NFL games to go. Here’s hoping all the officials finish the season well!

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?"