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Dotson Lewis' Blog


Dotson’s Note: The NFL usually announces the Super Bowl Referee about a week before the game; and does not reveal to the public the names of the rest of the crew until the day before the game. The reason for the secrecy is another story, but knowing that you Benchwarmers are used to being ahead of the game, here is some inside information for you. Also, I have included a couple of updates on “Deflategate.” Are we having fun yet?

Super Bowl Officials Assigned Bill Vinovich to Referee

 

 

 

 

 


Bill Vinovich will be the referee heading the Super Bowl officiating staff on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Ariz. The assignments were officially given to the crew on January 14th. Vinovich worked the Divisional Playoff game between the Ravens and the Patriots January 10th. Each of Vinovich’s crew members worked a Divisional Playoff game, but no more than three appeared on the same crew. Officials in the Super Bowl must be ranked in the top tier as determined by the vice-president of officiating, Dean Blandino. Accuracy percentages are a large part of the ranking scheme, but Blandino indicated there are other factors he considers. In addition, past practice has allowed officials to be selected who have not gotten an assignment, but are near the top rank at their positions.

The crew that has been confirmed for the big game is:

Referee: Bill Vinovich #52, 10 years in the NFL, is an accountant, formerly was an NFL Officiating Supervisor; Bill Shuster, Umpire #129, 15 years in the NFL, is an insurance broker; Headlinesman: Dana McKenzie, #8, 7 years in the NFL, a claims adjuster; Line Judge: Mark Periman # 9, 14 years in the NFL, is a teacher; Field Judge:  Bob Waggoner #25, 18 years in the NFL, a retired probation officer; Side Judge: Tom Hill #97, 16 years in the NFL, is a teacher; Back Judge: Terrance Miles #111, 7 years in the NFL, is a quality control manager.

Replay Officials: Mike Wimmer; Replay Assistant: Terry Poulos. Alternates: Referee: Carl Cheffers; Umpire: Fred Baynes; Linesman: Rusty Baynes; Deep Wing: Barry Andnerson; Back Judge: Todd Prukop. Supervisor: Garth DeFelice; Observers: Dean Blandino & Al Riveron.

 

 

 

 

NFL Officials Positions

 

 

 

 

“Deflategate” Updates

 

--Walt Anderson’s crew checked all footballs before AFC championship game.

--The crew followed standard procedure to prepare footballs for the game.

The past few days have featured media frenzy where the New England Patriots are accused of deflating the game balls to better suit quarterback Tom Brady in the wet weather. The NFL is investigating the matter.

 

By rule, footballs need to be inflated to between 12½ to 13½ p.s.i. Two hours before the game, the officiating crew checks the footballs provided by the teams. Each team provides 12 footballs to be used when their team is on offense. If the forecast calls for foul weather, each time provides 24 balls to use. The officials test the air pressure and weight of each ball, adding or subtracting air until it meets the specifications. Each crew marks the ball with a special symbol unique to the crew. Ron Winter used to stamp each approved ball with a snowflake, while Gene Steratore labels each football with the initials of his significant other. The imprimatur of Anderson’s crew is an interlocked WA. After each ball is checked in, the bag is returned to each club’s representative and the team has custody of game balls from then on. The NFL employs someone to have custody of the “kicking balls” at all times, but the teams are responsible for their own supply of game balls. The next time the official sees the scrimmage ball is when they toss it in to play.

Any speculation about wrongdoing or potential penalties is just that — speculation. It will be very interesting to see what the NFL concludes and if the league will adopt any changes in who is custodian of the balls between official inspection and the time that ball is put into the game.

 

 

NFL releases statement on deflated footballs issue

The NFL issued a statement January 23, 2015, to provide information on the investigation into whether the Patriots intentionally deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game against the Colts.

THE STATEMENT IN FULL:

“Our office has been conducting an investigation as to whether the footballs used in last Sunday’s AFC Championship Game complied with the specifications that are set forth in the playing rules. The investigation began based on information that suggested that the game balls used by the New England Patriots were not properly inflated to levels required by the playing rules, specifically Playing Rule 2, Section 1, which requires that the ball be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. Prior to the game, the game officials inspect the footballs to be used by each team and confirm that this standard is satisfied, which was done before last Sunday’s game.”

“The investigation is being led jointly by NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss. Mr. Wells and his firm bring additional expertise and a valuable independent perspective. The investigation began promptly on Sunday night. Over the past several days, nearly 40 interviews have been conducted, including of Patriots personnel, game officials, and third parties with relevant information and expertise. We have obtained and are continuing to obtain additional information, including video and other electronic information and physical evidence. We have retained Renaissance Associates, an investigatory firm with sophisticated forensic expertise to assist in reviewing electronic and video information.”

“The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games. We take seriously claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay. The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence. While the evidence thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion of the game to have remained properly inflated. The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence.”

“Upon being advised of the investigation, the Patriots promptly pledged their full cooperation and have made their personnel and other information available to us upon request. Our investigation will seek information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well. As we develop more information and are in a position to reach conclusions, we will share them publicly.”

Dotson’s Note: Walt Anderson is from Houston and is a good friend. I first met Walt when he started officiating sub-varsity games back in the seventies.  By working very hard at the craft, Walt advanced rapidly through the ranks. He worked up through high school varsity, small college, the Southwest Conference, the Big XII and NFL. In addition to being an NFL Referee, he is the Big XII Coordinator of Football Officials. He Refereed the Super Bowl in 2012.  I know that Walt and his crew would never knowingly allow anyone to violate any rule. Your suggestions, comments and/or questions/concerns regarding my blogs are appreciated. Call the Benchwarmers 361-560-5397 weekdays, Mondays thru Fridays, 3-6 p.m. or contact me.  Phone: 361-949-7681 Cell: 530-748-8475 Email: dlewis1@stx.rr.com

 

Have Fun!!! -30-

 

 

 

 

 



Dotson’s Note: Here we are just days from Super Bowl 49 and all kinds of interesting game related facts are filling the headlines. The following is to help get you ready for the big game. If you read and remember, you are well on your way to being a pre-Super Bowl Forty-Nine expert.

NFL looking into Pats' possible use of deflated balls (do you remember Spygate?)


 

The New England Patriots find themselves amidst another controversy following their 45-7 pummeling of the Indianapolis Colts. Shortly after the game NFL spokesman Michael Signora said “The league is looking into the apparent use of overly deflated footballs by the Patriots during their win. Midway through the game, a ball was taken off the field and out of circulation.”

 For you picky Benchwarmer listeners, here is the rule direct from the NFL Rules Book:

 

 

Rule 2 The Ball

Section 1

BALL DIMENSIONS

The Ball must be a “Wilson,” hand selected, bearing the signature of the Commissioner of the League, Roger Goodell. The ball shall be made up of an inflated (12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds) urethane bladder enclosed in a pebble grained, leather case (natural tan color) without corrugations of any kind. It shall have the form of a prolate spheroid and the size and weight shall be: long axis, 11 to 11 1/4 inches; long circumference, 28 to 28 1/2 inches; short circumference, 21 to 21 1/4 inches; weight, 14 to 15 ounces.

The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. A pump is to be furnished by the home club, and the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.

Section 2

BALL SUPPLY

Each team will make 12 primary balls available for testing by the Referee two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game to meet League requirements. The home team will also make 12 backup balls available for testing in all stadiums. In addition, the visitors, at their discretion, may bring 12 backup balls to be tested by the Referee for games held in outdoor stadiums. For all games, eight new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer to the Referee, will be opened in the officials’ locker room two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game. These balls are to be specially marked by the Referee and used exclusively for the kicking game. In the event a home team ball does not conform to specifications, or its supply is exhausted, the Referee shall secure a proper ball from the visitors and, failing that, use the best available ball. Any such circumstances must be reported to the Commissioner.

In case of rain or a wet, muddy, or slippery field, a playable ball shall be used at the request of the offensive team’s center.

Note: It is the responsibility of the home team to furnish playable balls at all times by attendants from either side of the playing field.

Between now and Super Bowl Forty-Nine I’ll bet we hear a lot more about "DeflataGate."

I will update you in my next Benchwarmers Blog.

Seven things to watch in Super Bowl XLIX

The Seahawks will be in Arizona on February 1st with a chance to become the NFL's first back-to-back Super Bowl champion since 2005. It's fitting the team standing in their way is the Patriots, who are the last franchise to repeat as Lombardi winners.

It's a classic old guard-new guard matchup with the stakes at their highest. Will the Seahawks edge toward dynasty status? Can Tom Brady win a fourth ring and solidify his GOAT credentials? Will Richard Sherman outshine Darrelle Revis? Can Marshawn Lynch find a way to escape Media Day?  Here's a look ahead:

1. This is a great match up, Bill Belichick and Brady squaring off against a historically great Seahawks defense. Michael Bennett bragged last week that the Seahawks have the No. 1 defense of their era. No one will deny that claim if Seattle goes back-to-back with wins over Brady and Peyton Manning.

                                                                          Brady             

2. Last February, Manning had his chance to solidify his argument as the best quarterback ever against the Seahawks and fell woefully short. Now Brady gets a golden opportunity in his record sixth Super Bowl appearance. On the flip side, Russell Wilson has conjured memories of a young Brady in his ability to find instant success at a young age. Like Brady, Wilson has always played like a quarterback wise beyond his years. Now the two passers collide.

3. The Seahawks didn't escape the Packers unscathed. Cornerback Richard Sherman suffered an ugly elbow injury that left him playing with one arm in crunch time Sunday. At press time the Seahawks are saying that Sherman had X-rays on the injured arm and they came back negative, he says he will be ready.

5. You have to love this coaching matchup. Belichick is widely seen as peerless in his field, but the team of Pete Carroll, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell -- in what will likely be their last game as a unit -- won't be embarrassed. Just think back to last year, when Carroll and company coached circles around an overmatched John Fox. It's a big reason why Fox loaded up his U-Haul for Chicago.

 

Wilson

 

4. The Patriots' unending run with Belichick and Brady has placed the organization in rarefied air in the sport's history. The Patriots will be making their eighth Super Bowl appearance, which ties them with the Cowboys and Steelers for the most all-time. Urgency was never going to be a problem for the Patriots, but Belichick and Brady understand they won't have too many more opportunities like this.

6. We get a healthy Rob Gronkowski for Super Bowl week. This is both fun and important. The All-Pro tight end played on a badly sprained ankle in his first trip to the Super Bowl in 2012. There are many Pats fans that will go to the grave believing there's no way they lose to the Giants a second time if not for the treacherous Bernard Pollard. Now Gronk is 100 percent and looming as a major X-factor against a banged-up Seattle secondary.

7. This will be the first time these teams play each other since Week 6 of the 2012 season. You may remember that as the "U Mad Bro?" game, a moment that launched Sherman into the greater national consciousness and surely infuriated Brady (even if he'll never admit it). Expect both players to be asked about their shared history in the relentless manner that's unique to Super Bowl week.

 

Your suggestions, comments and/or questions/concerns regarding my Blogs are appreciated. Call the Benchwarmers 361-560-5397 weekdays, Mondays thru Fridays, 3-6 p.m. or contact me.  Phone: 361-949-7681 Cell: 530-748-8475 Email: dlewis1@stx.rr.com

 

Have Fun!!! -30-