Sunday, January 13, 2008

NFL Quarterfinals: New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys and Pete Morelli

According to the blog hw's World of Sports (, the playoff game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys today (January 13, 2008) in the NFL playoffs will be covered by referee Pete Morelli using the John Parry's crew.

If that's correct, then it's hard to know whether to apply the regular season statistics for Pete Morelli (today's referee) or for John Parry (the officials other than the referee)! Let's take a quick look at both, but focus on Pete Morelli because he is just so much more interesting!

Pete Morelli: second-least penalties per game (9.7), second-least in penalty yards per game (77), 16th of 17 in percent of penalty yards against the visiting team (50%), 16th in difference in visitor penalty yards greater than home penalty yards (0.1), 2nd in total points (47.7), 2nd in visitor points (25), 15th in visitor penalty yards per game (38.6), last in home penalties per game (4.4), last in home win rate (33%).

John Parry: 7th in penalties per game, 3rd in penalty yards per game (100), 4th in yards per penalty, 2nd in percent of penalty yards against the visiting team (58%), 2nd in difference in visitor penalty yards greater than home penalty yards (15.7), 7th in total points (43.8), tied for second with two others in home win rate (73%).

What to me is the most interesting about Pete Morelli is that he had by far the worst win rate for the home team in his games this season. Home teams only won 33% of the games he handled. The two next-lowest refs were up at 40%. Home teams lost seven games in a row in Pete's games (weeks 3-11) and then three in a row (weeks 14-16). The losing home teams were Houston, Carolina, Buffalo, Miami, Chicago, Oakland, Baltimore, San Francisco, Giants, and New Orleans. Very interesting. But it could be interesting because the NFL might pair up Pete Morelli with John Parry's crew and home teams did very well in John's games this year. Will this mix and mash effort somehow attempt to even off the skewed regular season statistics?

There are several areas where Pete Morelli and John Parry were on different extremes during the regular season. Pete was near the top of all of the following categories while John was near the bottom: fewest penalty yards per game, percent of penalty yards called against the home team, and penalty yardage differential called against the home team.

Only in the playoffs would a referee be torn away from his usual crew and transplanted with a new crew. So there are few examples to help us draw a conclusion about what might happen in the Giants-Cowboys game later today.

So, for the Giants fans, keep rooting for the Morelli Curse to strike the Cowboys as today's home team! And Cowboys fan should root like crazy that the Morelli Curse was actually embodied by Pete's crew and not Pete himself so that the Cowboys can escape the curse.

Maybe the location of the Morelli Curse will have more of an impact on today's game than the location of Jessica Simpson?


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