Sunday, October 08, 2006

Statistical analysis of NFL referees

A New York Times article "Flags Raise Flag in NFL" on September 10, 2006 by Clifton Brown and Aron Pilhofer analyzed the disparity among NFL referee crews. In the 2005-06 season, Larry Nemmers's crew called the most penalties per game while Bill Vinovich's crew called the least per game.

Someone put a petition on the website onlinepetition that calls for the NFL to make the NFL Referees Association's statistics public, which the author of the petition asks to include a breakdown by referee of the penalties called, challenges made, challenge review rate, and penalty yardage called.

Aaron Schatz, who contributes to Pro Football Prospectus 2006, published fascinating statistics about NFL referees during the 2005 regular season. Some of the work was printed in the New York Times and the website

According to Schatz, the 2005 leading penalizers and least penalizer referees were:
Larry Nemmers (20.6, 141 per game)
Ed Hochuli (19.1, 130)
Terry McAulay (18.6, 138)
Ron Winter (18.5, 128)
Walt Coleman (18.5, 125.1)
Bill Leavy (16.4, 124)
Tony Corrente (15.7, 105)
Gerry Austin (15.3, 99)
Walt Anderson (15.3, 104)
Bill Vinovich (12.3, 83)

Let's analyze the 2006 NFL season so far! Please post your comments to this analysis if you agree, disagree, or would like to analyze the data differently.

After 4 weeks in the 2006 NFL season, the top 4 and bottom 4 in penalizing teams are:
Mike Carey: 15.5-126
Bill Vinovich: 15.3-147
Tony Corrente: 14-124
Larry Nemmers: 13.3-118
Walt Anderson: 10.8-92
Walt Coleman: 10-78.3
Bill Leavy: 9.8-66
Peter Morelli: 7.7-63

So, Bill Vinovich has gone from lowest in 2005 to number 2 in 2006 in calling penalties. Quite a difference! Walt Anderson, though, is still near the bottom in penalties called. Ron Winter is 6th from the bottom, just missing the bottom-4 referees for calling penalties. This is even though for one game, not one penalty was accepted against the Broncos (week 2)!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

how many of you football fans not for either team but believes the refs made some bad calls during the texans/colts game. Costing the texans the game

11:45 PM  

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