Friday, December 26, 2008

Controversial Referee Calls: A Working List

Is there a good compilation of the controversial referee calls from the NFL season? Let's start a working list and please post some comments of some of the controversial calls that we should add to the list.

Also, let me know in the comments whether you think we should make a wiki so that people can add their own comments about the referees.

NFL 2008 Season
  • Week 2: Ed Hochuli, SD Chargers-Denver Broncos. Broncos QB Jay Cutler lost the ball when moving his arm back, which caused a fumble that SD recovered just after referee Ed Hochuli mistakenly blew the play dead for a supposed incomplete pass. In the aftermath, the NFL fined Jerry Jones $25,000.
  • Week 3: Ron Winter, NO Saints-Denver Broncos. Broncos LB Jamie Winborn was not called for offside on a play. Saints coach Sean Payton complained about that later and the NFL fined him $15,000.
  • Week 4: Ed Hochuli, Atlanta Falcons-Carolina Panthers. Carolina DE Julius Peppers hit Falcons QB Matt Ryan and Ed Hochuli called a disputed penalty for roughing the passer, negating a fumble.
  • Week 6: Ed Hochuli, Miami Dolphins-Houston Texans. Generally, Dolphins LB Joey Porter criticized Ed Hochuli and his crew on a call that a potential fumble was an incomplete pass, which Joey Porter thought was an example of how the Texas kept getting calls. The NFL fined him $20,000.
  • Week 6: Bill Carollo, Jacksonville Jaguars-Denver Broncos. Denver CB Dre Bly questioned calls by Bill Carollo's crew, including an illegal-contact call against Dre Bly and a defensive pass interference call against his teammate Marlon McCree. The NFL fined him $20,000.
  • Week 7: Walt Anderson, SF 49ers-NY Giants. NYG WR Plaxico Burress and SF CB Nate Clements got together on a pass to Burress. An official on Walt Coleman's crew called it offensive pass interference on Plaxico Burress, but replays suggested it should have been defensive pass interference on Nate Clements. Plaxico Burress later criticized it as one of the worst calls he'd ever seen. The NFL fined him $20,000.
  • Week 10: Tony Corrente, Arizona Cardinals-SF 49ers. SF RB Frank Gore was tackled before reaching the end zone and at first, referees placed the ball inside the 1-yard line. After reviewing the play, they moved the ball back to the 2-yard line but SF claims that the referees did not tell the SF coaches, who had to go ahead and run a play that was not suited to gaining two yards and failed.
  • Week 11: Scott Green, SD Chargers-Pittsburgh Steelers. Pitt CB Troy Polamalu picks up a botched lateral and returns it for an apparent TD on the final play of the game. After reviewing a replay, referee Scott Green applies the rules incorrectly and overturns the TD because he thought the play should have been dead when the lateral hit the ground -- a ruling that would only be correct if the lateral in question was an illegal forward pass such as a toss earlier in the play. Gamblers around the country groan.
  • Week 15: Walt Coleman, Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens. Pitt WR Santonio Holmes caught a ball right at the goal line and the referees ruled on the field that he was stopped just short of scoring a TD. After reviewing replays, they overruled the call and ruled that it was clearly a TD. Many commentators believed the replays were not clear about whether it was a TD -- even though it suggested it probably was a TD, it was not clear enough to justify overruling a call on the field.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

NFL Referee Statistics before Week 16 (up to December 15, 2008)

About time I caught up on some statistics!

For now, just some raw statistics after the first 15 weeks (through the games of Monday, December 15, 2008).

Referee, Penalties accepted per game, Penalty yards accepted per game, Yards per penalty accepted, total points scored, % home win rate.

If you are rooting for the home team and you think some referees are better for the home team than others, then hope you get Alberto Riveron (71%), Scott Green (69%), or Terry McAulay (67%). But not John Parry (38%), Gene Steratore (43%), or William Carollo (43%)! These are raw figures, not adjusted for the strength of schedule.

After 15 weeks, home teams are winning 56.5% of the games. Note, for weeks 9-15, the home win rate was only 49.5% (I wondered last year whether the home field advantage decreases towards the end of the season...)

Anderson, Walt 13.1 101 7.7 38.7 67%
Boger, Jerome 12.8 97 7.6 44.2 62%
Carey, Mike 10.2 91 8.9 42.4 45%
Carollo, William 10.3 78 7.6 40.2 43%
Cheffers, Carl 9.8 81 8.3 46.0 46%
Coleman, Walt 9.4 70 7.5 45.1 57%
Corrente, Tony 13.2 114 8.7 42.6 50%
Green, Scott 10.5 75 7.2 42.2 69%
Hochuli, Ed 12.6 102 8.1 43.1 50%
Leavy, Bill 10.7 84 7.9 50.6 62%
McAulay, Terry 11.5 90 7.9 41.3 69%
Morelli, Peter 10.8 82 7.5 49.1 65%
Parry, John 11.4 86 7.6 43.8 38%
Riveron, Alberto 11.1 88 8.0 47.5 71%
Steratore, Gene 10.8 84 7.8 42.5 43%
Triplette, Jeff 13.0 101 7.8 42.9 62%
Winter, Ron 14.1 116 8.3 45.2 64%

Monday, December 15, 2008

Walt Coleman In The Middle of A Replay Controversy

Big controversy over Walt Coleman's decision on December 14, 2008 to overturn the ruling on the field by head linesman Paul Weidner -- Santonio Holmes of the Pittsburgh Steelers caught a pass that the officials initially called as down on the one-foot line and not a touchdown. After the review, Walt Coleman overturned the ruling on the field and called it a touchdown, infuriating Baltimore Ravens fans.

Many people are wondering whether there was conclusive evidence that would be enough to overturn the decision on the field. Chris Mottram of the Sporting News thinks it probably was a TD but not enough to overturn the decision on the field. NBC analyst Cris Collingsworth thought it wasn't a TD. Peter King of CNN thought it was most likely a TD but not enough to be indisputable evidence. Gene Wang of the Washington Post thought Walt Coleman got it the evidence was in no way conclusive.

Patrick McManamon of the Ohio Beacon Juornal wrote that there's no way it should have been overturned by replay and even suggests the NFL would be better off without replay.