As we prepare to enjoy six Wild Card playoff games in three days, let’s break down the assignments.
Please note that we do not count the Pro Bowl as a playoff game.
Many happy returns
Craig Wrolstad (pictured above) gets a playoff field assignment for the first time since 2016 and for the third time since being appointed umpire in 2014. He has worked at least as a substitute every year since graduating the white hat (including alternate referee in Super Bowl LII), but on-field assignments eluded him. He worked two conference championships and Super Bowl XLVII as a field judge.
Plus, linesman Julian Mapp takes his first playoff field assignment since 2017.
Long playoff streak
In the past 21 seasons, judge Mark Hittner has worked in the playoffs for 19 of them. During those 19 seasons, he appeared in nine conference championships and three Super Bowls.
Additionally, bottom judge Dana McKenzie has completed a field playoff mission in 10 of the past 13 seasons (he was acting the other three). Perry Paganelli has been in the playoffs for 12 consecutive seasons. Jim Mello has been assigned for 13 of the past 16 seasons to either bottom judge or linesman.
In a time when even the best officials miss playoff assignment a year or two, these are great playoff streaks.
First playoff assignments on the field
Rookie officials are not eligible to officiate in the playoffs. Officials with their first field assignment this weekend:
- Joe Blubaugh, Field Judge # 57 – Second Year
- Dominique Pender, adjunct judge # 114 – second year
- Daniel Gallagher, # 85 linesman – second year
- Grantis Bell, back judge # 27 – second year
- Tab Slaughter, referee # 110 – second year
- Frank LeBlanc, down-jug # 44 – second year
- Matt Edwards, back judge # 96 – fourth year (twice alternate)
Good luck to all wild card officials! May only officials’ fans remember your names on Tuesday.