Six games in three days – a double header, a triple header and a single. That’s a lot of playoff football. The games can start to whirl together but here are my officiating observations from the “Super Wild Card Weekend.”
1. Replay more prominent – or was it?
It seems like there were several replay stoppages for a formal centralized review, or half-minute delays while the replay official conducted an expedited review and was able to change the call without a formal stoppage. In the playoffs everything is magnified, including replays. Thankfully expedited replay can take care of some of these calls without a full-blown stop. And, replay challenges and replay officials stepped in at the right time and stopped things for a replay.
And, for those who think the officials are no good and “miss too many calls,” I truly wish there was a hat cam that would give the flavor of calling those plays in real time.
2. New(er) officials made their mark
The newer officials getting playoff assignments are proving their worth. Terry Killens, Tom Eaton, Anthony Flemming and Mike Dolce did a very good job this weekend. While some veteran officials are aging out and retiring, the future is bright with many new, good officials.
3. You can never relax
The Chargers-Jaguars game is proof that officials can never relax, especially in a playoff game. Near halftime I noted in the liveblog that the officials will have to work with the Jaguars as their frustrations boiled over.
Then the Jaguars came back and won. Officials cannot take any play off at any time of the game, no matter the score. Shawn Smith’s crew rose to the occasion and called a very good game start to finish.
4. Be ready for anything
As an offshoot of keeping focus, officials have to be ready for anything. Bengals-Ravens with a snap near the goal line. Umpire Fred Bryan and referee Clay Martin would watch line play and wait for the wing officials to signal if the ball broke the plane. Then, they were in a race 98-yards the other way trying to beat a pro athlete to the goal line
Sam Hubbard takes the fumble 98 yards for the TD ‼️
— NFL (@NFL) January 16, 2023
Six games in three days. Lots of football. A few bumps, and some excellent officiating. Only seven more football games to go.
Savor each down this weekend!