Mike Pereira, Head of NFL Officials, to retire

According to ESPN, Mike Pereira is set to retire at the end of this season.  The 59-year-old Pereira has been a very open and well-liked chief, and he’ll be returning to California with wife to enjoy his retirement.  This decision was made during the previous off-season and had nothing to do with any of the controversies of this season.

No successor has yet been named.

How do they choose the officials for the NFL playoffs?

Note: The following is a guest post from Football-Refs reader Barry


I have followed the assignment of referees to the playoffs since 1985 and all officials since 2002.  While I don’t have all the answers and have never verified this with anyone in authority, here is my version of how it is done.  It is based upon my complete records since 2002 and comments by Mike Pereira to the NFL Network on the December 30 “Official Review.”  If you have other information, please let me know.

Up to and including the 2002 season, all officials were assigned as individuals to all-star crews for all of the playoff games.  Presumably, the highest-rated official at each position worked the Super Bowl.  Each one also worked one playoff game.

For the 2003 and 2004 seasons, officials were basically assigned by regular season crews, with substitutions for rookie officials and (perhaps) low-rated ones.  Eight such crews were assigned to the wild card and divisional playoff games.  Then two of these crews, with some substitutions from the other six playoff crews, also worked the conference championships.  Every official in the conference championships also worked in the wild card or divisional playoffs.  As before, the best official at each position worked the Super Bowl.  Every one had worked at least one playoff game, and in a couple of instances (if they were on the right crew) they had worked two.

This is the fourth year of the present system, and I think it works like this:

  • The eight highest-rated crews are assigned to the wild card and divisional playoffs, but substitutions are made in three instances: 1) rookie officials; 2) officials who are rated third- or second-best at their position; 3) poorly-rated officials.  They are replaced by officials with good ratings from the other nine crews that are not assigned to these rounds.
  • The two crews for the conference championships are all-star crews and consist of the third- and second-rated officials at each position.  None of these officials have worked in the previous two rounds.
  • The Super Bowl officials, as always, are the highest-rated officials at each position for the year.  Some have worked in the wild card or divisional playoffs, but not all of them.
  • I don’t know how the Pro Bowl officials are selected, but none of them have worked any other postseason games.

We welcome your comments below.

Hochuli unsure about working this Sunday?

It seems that Ed Hochuli may be considering taking a week off, based on a small change on his “official” website.

As of yesterday, the site proudly proclaimed that Ed would be working the Browns-Ravens game this Sunday.  Today, that message changed to:

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 21st – Check back Sunday Morning

I’ll admit — this might not mean anything.  Still, I find it quite odd that they’d take down the game listing at this point in time.

Mike Pereira, the NFL’s supervisor of officials, has already come out and encouraged Ed to get back out there.  Between that, Ed’s apology, no suspension from the league, and the listing on his site, I assumed he was good go to.  Maybe not.

Anyone have any good information about this?  If so, please leave it in the comments below.

Hochuli is devasted, but Pereira wants him back on the field this weekend

The NFL’s supervisor of officials, Mike Pereira, says that he has spoken to Ed Hochuli a few times over the past week and that Hochuli still feels devastated about what happened.  According to Pereira:

“He is a consummate professional who’s refereed in this league for 17 years and he hates to make any mistake. So when you add a mistake of this magnitude, at this particular junction of the game, it’s been really hard on him. We’ve talked probably seven or eight times since that game, and my whole goal is to try to get him back to get on the horse and work again this weekend. He’s too good of a guy, too good of an official to keep off the field over this critical mistake he made. I think he’ll be all right, but he’s really been affected over this mistake he made.”

If Pereira is right and Hochuli gets right back into it, he’s scheduled to ref the Browns-Ravens game at 4:15EST.