The wife of Super Bowl 50 replay assistant Jimmy Oldham attended the game as a Denver Broncos fan and posted video celebrating the outcome to her public Facebook page.
The NFL reported Oldham’s assignment on its website Jan. 27 and KUSA identifies him as a Denver-area resident. The Lead Sports earlier today published photos of Jimmy Oldham’s wife in Broncos gear taken from her public Facebook page.
Mrs. Oldham also posted a video of the game’s final seconds with the caption “The moment we WON!”
A photo album posted on her account Sunday afternoon includes photos of Mrs. Oldham in a Broncos jersey posing with her husband. There are also photos of the replay assistant with referee Clete Blakeman and NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino.
The photo with Blandino appears to have been taken in the same vicinity as the others. Mrs. Oldham was wearing a Broncos jersey at the time.
When asked by The Big Lead about Mr. Oldham, the NFL released this statement: “The replay assistant has no input into replay decisions and is on-site to help facilitate communication between the referee and the Vice President of Officiating, Dean Blandino, who typically works from the league’s officiating room in New York. For the Super Bowl, Blandino was on-site at Levi’s Stadium working from the instant replay booth with the replay official, Charles Stewart, and was in direct communication with the referee during all replay reviews.”
The NFL declined to address questions about officiating assignments in relation to residency.
The replay assistant’s role is not implicitly outlined by the NFL rule book. Two years ago, Peter King profiled Gene Steratore’s crew in the week leading up to the game, as well as the game itself. The replay assistant, along with the replay official, was noted to be present during Saturday meetings with the 7-man on-field officiating crew.
That piece also says, in describing one review, “[m]eanwhile, the replay assistant and replay official are gathering the television angles seen by however many cameras are working that game.” In an effort to limit mistakes, the NFL made a change in 2014 which permitted referees to consult the officiating department in New York during reviews.
Back in September, Mike Pereira of Fox Sports accused the replay assistant during a Seahawks game of improperly contacting the referee to change a call:
"According to former head of NFL officiating Mike Pereira, the most likely explanation is that the replay assistant — in violation of league protocols — contacted Triplette to tell him that the Seahawks’ onside kick had not bounced off the ground, as Triplette originally believed."
One obvious question that will now emerge is the efficacy of the replay evaluation used during Jerricho Cotchery’s “incomplete” catch in the first quarter. With just more than seven minutes left to go and the Panthers trailing 3-0, Cam Newton threw a bullet to Cotchery over the middle of the field. Cotchery juggled the ball and landed about 20 yards downfield with Broncos safety Darian Stewart hanging on him.
Two plays later, Newton was sacked, fumbled, and the Broncos scored a touchdown for a 10-0 lead it would not relinquish.
The play was ruled incomplete on the field, yet on replay it appeared to be a clean catch. The officials ruled that the play stood after replay review. Of course, based on Signora’s statement, Dean Blandino would have been in the booth helping to direct that review.
The NFL is always concerned with optics. Every move the league makes will naturally be scrutinized, which is why this assignment is noteworthy. Neither of the two replay reviews played a major factor in the result of the game. Even if Cotchery’s play had been ruled a catch, a reasonable person could not argue it would have drastically altered a 14-point contest.