Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Super Bowl 42 Referee Mike Carey Great for Favorites

The referee for Super Bowl 42 between the Giants and Patriots is Mike Carey. He will have an all-star group of officials working with him that is mixture of officials from other referees' regular season crews.

How does he and the referee crews from which the Super Bowl officials come from look for favorites?

To study this, we had to assume a baseline of what makes a favorite. We looked at the actual season results using the footballoutsiders DVOA difference for the visiting and home teams. We made a model of the overall expected wins for the favorites in each of the games and added up the expected and actual wins.

Mike Carey comes out tops out of the 17 referees for the winning percentage for favorites and for the difference between the expected winning percentage and actual winning percentage for favorites.

Favorites won 93% of Mike Carey's games in the regular season, far and away the best. The next best was down at 88% for Ed Hochuli.

Favorites did 17% better than expected in Mike Carey's games (93% winning rate as opposed to the expected 76%). That was tops for the 17 referees, with Bill Leavy coming in second at 14% (favorites won 82% as opposed to the expected 68%).

Let's take a look at the percent boost that favorites received above the expected winning percentage for the regular season crews from which the other officials (other than Mike Carey) come.

Bill Leavy was 2nd best of 17 for favorites at 14% above expected (82% actual, 68% expected).
Ed Hochuli was 5th at 8% above expected (88% actual, 79% expected)
Scott Green was 11th at -1% (73% actual, 75% expected)
Gerald Austin was 13th at -5% (69% actual, 73% expected)
John Parry was 17th and last at -12% (60% actual, 72% expected)

Do these numbers really mean anything at all? Perhaps some referees call the game in a standard kind of way (which would help the favorites because they are the better team) while other referees call a more haphazard game or use their own pecular interpretation of the rules, which might hurt the favorites? Post a comment and of course, feel free to say that you think we are completely out of it with this proposed statistic!

All we do is crunch the numbers, it is up to you to decide whether the numbers are really worth anything. But we do hope you appreciate our number-crunching. We seem to be offering statistics and analysis that hardly anyone else is offering!

By the way, the regular season DVOA difference between the Patriots and Giants was 52%. That is huge. When one team had a 50% or more advantage over the other team in the regular season, the favorites went 20-1. Maybe you can argue that the Giants' playoff form means the regular season DVOA is not a good reflection, but it does not look so great from the DVOA standpoint. Then again, the Giants have bucked the trend. When they visited Dallas, Dallas had over 20% better DVOA in the regular season. Home teams with 20-30% DVOA advantage went 24-4 in the regular season (winning 86% of their games), yet the visiting Giants won anyway.


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