All-star officiating staff to work Rams-Chiefs
5:56 PM ET
Kevin SeifertNFL Nation
Close ESPN.com national NFL writer ESPN.com NFC North reporter, 2008-2013 Covered Vikings for Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1999-2008
The NFL took the unusual step this week of assigning an “all-star” officiating crew to the most highly anticipated game of the season, adding to the playofflike frenzy for Monday night’s matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams.
Referee Clete Blakeman will work the game with only two members of his regular crew, umpire Ramon George and down judge Dana McKenzie. The other five officials — including Jim Lapetina, who will handle replay — were plucked from four other crews.
The approach is similar to how the NFL assigns officials to playoff games, a process that is based on performance and seniority rather than crew. But it is rarely, if ever, employed before the postseason. Officials typically work on the same eight-person crews throughout the regular season to maximize continuity and familiarity among members.
Individual crew members are occasionally juggled for health or scheduling reasons. But a series of actions this season have indicated the league is moving away from the consistent crew concept, in favor of a more