January 05, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) Ronald Torbert, at the center of an incorrect penalty call in an October game, will work the Chiefs-Texans wild-card game Saturday.

Torbert, in his second season as a referee and sixth year as an NFL official, did not recognize Ravens guard John Urschel signaling he was lining up as an eligible player in a Monday night game Baltimore lost 26-18 at Arizona. The Ravens were flagged for an illegal formation, and the league's officiating vice president, Dean Blandino, later said Torbert was distracted while correcting the number of a penalized player on the previous play.

But Torbert's work the rest of the season was strong enough for the NFL to include him for postseason assignments. Playoff officials are chosen based on a ratings system for the regular season.

Other referees this weekend are John Parry (Steelers-Bengals), Walt Coleman (Seahawks-Vikings), and Gene Steratore (Packers-Redskins).

Steratore's regular-season crew also had a mishap, with an inadvertent whistle in the Bills-Patriots game on Nov. 23. Bills coach Rex Ryan drew a 15-yard penalty for sideline obstruction on the play, as well, in a 20-13 New England victory.

Coleman is the senior referee among the four chosen for this weekend's games with 17 NFL seasons, all as a ref. Parry has 16, the past nine as a ref. Steratore has been in the league for 13 seasons, the past 10 as a ref.

Only Parry among these four has worked a Super Bowl, in 2012.

Playoff games and Super Bowls are assigned on an individual basis as mandated through this postseason by the labor agreement between the league and the NFL Referees Association. Officials are ranked by position for postseason assignment purposes, with each position having three tiers based on the officials' accuracy percentage, which includes calls made and calls not made.

Those that graded the highest at their positions in NFL evaluations receive an on-field postseason assignment.

This year, the NFL is using mixed crews throughout the playoffs and for the Super Bowl. As it turns out, every playoff game will have a minimum of two members of the same crew, based on the results of those evaluations. Some game crews will have four members who have worked together regularly during the 2015 season.

Crews do not stay together throughout the playoffs, which is why during the regular season, more officials were rotated to different crews than in years past.

Only the officials that are assigned to the Super Bowl will work two playoff games.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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