Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nice Story on NFL Referee Ed Hochuli

Elizabeth Merrill has a great off-season story about NFL referee Ed Hochuli at espn.com for Outside the Lines.

At this site, I try to focus on NFL referee statistics as a way to analyze referees' performance, especially to look for trends and tendencies that distinguish referee crews from each other. I'd like there to be much more discussion about tendencies by referees without accusing referees of cheating or trying to make bad calls. It is difficult to use statistics to figure out whether a referee is having a bad day and making mistakes or intentionally trying to affect the result.

Instead, it might be more productive to look at all of the unconscious tendencies that distinguish referees from each other, such as whether some referees are sticklers for the rules or call less penalties (often doing so even-handedly by being stricter or more lenient for both teams in the game). Or perhaps some referees are more friendly to high-scoring games than more defensive-minded referees. I'd like to comb through the statistics to figure this out -- but not to accuse the referees of intentionally trying to change the result.


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