Sunday, January 04, 2009

Ron Winter in the Colts-Chargers Wild Card Game

There was a great deal of controversy over Ron Winter's referee crew in the wild card game between the San Diego Chargers and the Indianapolis Colts.

I will try to crunch the numbers for his crew for the 2008 NFL season to see if I can spot any trends from the raw statistics that I've been tracking.

The controversy seems to be up for debate, as opposed to other games this season where people unanimously believed the referees made mistakes.

Some questions (with critics and defenders of the referees for each point) include:
  • 10:04 left in OT, defensive holding called on Colts's CB Tim Jennings on what would otherwise have left SD with a 4th-and-8 on the Colts's 40 yard line. Some think it should not have been a penalty while others think it was a penalty and should have been defensive pass interference.
  • 12:51 left in OT, defensive holding on the Colts's DT Eric Foster.
  • Non-calls against SD for possible offensive holding or illegal hands to the face while stopping DE Dwight Freeney.
  • Non-call in OT against Chargers's center Nick Hardwick for possible holding.
The accepted penalties ended up at 9 penalties for 74 yards against Indianapolis and 3 penalties for 40 yards against San Diego.

That does not include 2 penalties called against the Colts that were declined. (If you include those, then the called penalties were 11 against the Colts and 3 against the Chargers.) I'll look into how this compares with regular season games this season...

Ron Winter and the 2008 NFL regular season referee statistics:
  • 13.6 accepted penalties per game, 1st out of 17 crews (2nd was 12.7). His crew also had the most in 2007.
  • 114 accepted penalty yards per game, most (2nd was 107). He was 2nd in 2007.
  • 8.4 penalty yards per penalty, 3rd most. He was 9th in 2007.
  • 49% of penalties were against the visiting teams (12th out of 17)
  • 45.3 points per game (7th of 17)
  • 24.8 points by the home team per game (5th of 17)
  • 63% of the time, the home team won (6th of 17). He was tied for 15th in 2007 (40%). The league average was 56.8% this year (2008).
Was the game unusual for having 9 penalties for 74 yards for the visiting Colts and 3 penalties for 40 yards for the home team (Chargers)?
  • Is it unusual for there to be a 6 penalty disparity in favor of the home team? In the 2008 season, out of 256 games, one was +9 for the home team, 2 were +8 for the home team, 3 were +7 for the home team, and 6 were +6 for the home team. So only 12 of 256 games were +6 or more for the home team. (Home teams won 50%)
  • Is it unusual to have only 25% of the penalties against the home team? There were 12 games where the home team had less than 25% of the penalties and 5 games where the home team had 25% of the penalties -- so in 17 out of 256 games the home team had 25% or less of the penalties. Home teams won 76% of those games. Putting aside games where the disparity was 4-0, 4-1, 3-1, or 5-1, the list is:
    • Scott Green, StL-NE, 9-0 penalties
    • William Carollo, Ariz-Sea, 8-1
    • Tony Corrente, Ind-Hou, 6-1
    • Terry McAulay, TB-Atl, 11-3
    • Gene Steratore, NO-Atl, 7-2
    • Terry McAulay, NYG-Minn, 7-2
    • Bill Leavy, Det-SF, 9-3
    • Peter Morelli, NYG-Ariz, 9-3
    • Walt Anderson, Car-SD, 6-2
    • [Ron Winter, Ind-SD, 9-3]
  • Is it unusual that 35.1% of the penalty yards were called against the home team? Not really. Out of 256 games, the home team had less than 35% of the penalty yards in 49 games. (Home teams won 59%)
  • There were 29 games in the regular season where the visiting team was penalized by 34 or more yards than the home team. (Home teams won 54%)
  • Home teams had 3 or less accepted penalties in 57 games (home teams won 69%)
  • Home teams had 40 penalty yards or less in 125 games (home teams won 60%)
  • Visiting teams had 9 or more accepted penalties in 37 games (home teams won 57%)
  • Visiting teams had 74 or more penalty yards in 26 games (home teams won 62%)
How did home teams do for Ron Winter's games considering the particular won-loss records of the teams (excluding the game that Ron Winter did)? Let's use the won-loss record as a yardstick for whether we'd expect a team to win.
  • The Colts-Chargers game had the home team with 4 less wins than the visiting team. Here is Ron Winter's distribution, listing how many more victories the home team had other than the game Ron did and whether the home team won. The Colts-Chargers game had a home team net record of -4: -8L, -7W, -6L, -1.5L, -1L, -1W, 0L, 0W, 2W, 2W, 2.5W, 5L, 5W, 6.5W, 8W, 10W. So it looks like when the home team has less wins, they went 2-5 and when it had more wins, it went 7-1. The biggest upset in favor of a home team was in week 7, when the home team Green Bay beat the visiting Colts 34-14.
Another way to predict how good teams are is to check only the points scored and points allowed, but not their won-loss rate. Using this approach, SD was favored by 0.4 points (their net points was better than the Colts's.)
  • When the home team has better net points, they went 6-1 with Ron Winter's games this season. When the home team was equal or -1, they went 2-0. When the home team was more than 1.0 points an underdog using this method, they went 2-5.


Blogger Dusty said...

Wow 3 calls against the chargers and then the calls for Defensive holding a call that is rarely seen. This guy also called the Green Bay game and left the colts with the most Penalities under Tony Dungy. This guy doesn't need to be in charge of reffing these games, especially with his thick glasses. Non biased opinion by the way not really a colts or chargers fan just a football fan.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I counted 2 or 3 times that Phillip Rivers intentionally grounded the ball. One in OT, he wasn't outside the tackle box, didn't throw it past the line of scrimmage, and 5 yards behind Darren Sproles. Plus the tripping call on Jeff Saturday, that was a joke, the defender had no chance at getting to Manning. So that should have been a non call.

1:58 PM  
Blogger WWNFL said...

Several of Rivers throwaways were not within 5-8 yards of the line of scrimmage. The rule notes past or near. Corrente, I believe made the correct call in todays game with an "in the grasp" sack on McNabb. The OT call should have been one or the other, but not incomplete. Why rush the QB if he can DROP it in the direction of a team mate? This isn't the Pro Bowlers Tour.

Tripping by definition is below the knee. Saturdays contact was about mid thigh. Balancing this with some of the SD Hands to the face and out right holding is faulty at best. How about the missed SD block in the back, leading with the helmet, at point of attack on the opening kickoff. They sure found it on the interception return and it was little more than a push, flagable sure, but really the guy didn't even hit the dirt.

The first OT Hold was remarkable from the standpoint that it was away from the ball on a run play. Had I an umpire make that call I would ask him to pick it up so as not to embarras either one of us further. Did I say Awful.

The second OT Hold was apparently thrown out of some desperation to keep the drive alive with a DPI. The Pass was nearly as close to the receiver as the aforementioned non-grounding(uncatchable), thus with short memories for the fact that contact was mutual and in the 5 yard buffer, it was changed to a hold rather than picked up.

I have come to expect more quality officiating from the guys in shorts volunteering at Saturday morning kids leagues than NFL playoff officials. Had this game been in any way consistent, I would have been surprised. This group has tendency to control rather than administrate.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron Winter also refereed the NYG/SF playoff game during the 2002 post season and blew a call at the end of that game too. He is the worst referee in the league.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The biggest upset in favor of a home team was in week 7, when the home team Green Bay beat the visiting Colts 34-14."

Ron Winter was the ref in that game too.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, there were two offensive holdings called in the 4th quarter against the Colts. Hard to understand, considering the Freeney situation.... Also, there was a Chambers catch which wasn't a catch, a Wayne incompletion, which was a completion, plus, when in OT, Session facemasked Sproles, he was being facemasked too.

1:09 PM  

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