Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Discussions about how referees affect scoring by both teams

Great post at Basketball Prospectus Unfiltered about the effects of NBA referees on how many points per possessions teams will score.

I have been doing similar analysis for how a specific NFL referee crew might have an effect on how many points are scored per game.

The hypothesis for the NBA and NFL analysis is that some referees will favor scoring points for the home and visiting teams. This is a logical hypothesis because just as some umpires in baseball have a small strike zone (making it harder for the pitcher to strike out batters), maybe some NBA referees call many fouls against the defense (making it harder for the defense to stop the offense) and maybe some NFL referees call more defensive pass interference penalties than others (making it harder for the defense to stop the offense).

The idea is that if a referee is equally helpful to the offense of both teams, then the referee might not be intentionally trying to influence the result of the game, but just that different people call games a little differently. Tracking referee performance may be the next level of analyzing the game -- and it is disappointing that sports analysts don't spend more time on it.

If only sports analysts spent more time on it, fans might get more insight into the games and one day I might get a little publicity for referee analysis. Nothing wrong with a little attention, right?


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