Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor
We break down the officials for Sunday's 49ers-Falcons NFC Championship Game
The 49ers and Falcons are a day away from figuring out who will represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVII, which means we might as well take a look at the referees for the game. The folks at Football Zebras are on top of things once again, as they are able to provide us with the two officiating crews for the NFC and AFC conference title games. It is worth noting that Tim Boger, referee for the 49ers-Packers divisional matchup, will be handling Super Bowl duties.
The 49ers game will be handled by referee Terry McAulay, who also operates as Big East college officiating coordinator. McAulay worked the Week 6 Falcons-Raiders game, and last worked a 49ers game when they hosted the Buccaneers last season. This is McAulay's 12th postseason assignment, including six conference championships, and a pair of Super Bowls.
Playoff crews are compiled from multiple crews. The regular season involves a crew of officials generally working together all year. However, once the playoffs start, the crews are compiled of the "best" officials from the regular season (explained further below). The 49ers-Falcons game will include the following officials (names linked to their PFR page; jersey #, followed by years experience in parenthesis):
Referee: Terry McAulay (77 - 15 years)
Umpire: Carl Paganelli (124 - 14 years)
Head Linesman: Wayne Mackle (106 - 6 years)
Line Judge: Tom Stephan (68 - 14 years)
Field Judge: Gary Cavaletto (60 - 10 years)
Side Judge: Allen Baynes (56 - 5 years)
Back Judge: Tony Steratore (112 - 13 years)
Alternates: Carl Cheffers (upfield), Greg Bradley (line), Mike Weir (deep)
Replay Official: Earnie Frantz
Replay Assistant: Brian Matoren
Supervisor: Ed Coukart
Observer: Jim Duke
At the end of the regular season, Football Zebras had a rundown of how playoff assignments are determined. According to them:
Officials are ranked based on accuracy of calls and scores in written rules tests. Subjective criteria weight the rankings, such as professionalism, decisiveness, pace of the game, and fitness. The highest ranked officials at each position are placed in the Super Bowl, the next highest will go to the Conference Championship games, continuing down through the Divisional Playoffs and the Wild Card Playoffs.