According to NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk, the National Football League Referees Association has refuted claims that certain referees and their crews have a bias against particular teams.
“Claims like these demonstrate a fundamental lack of knowledge about NFL officiating,” Green said. “NFL officials are graded on every call made in every game. Missing a single one can hurt his or her ranking and may be the difference between working in the postseason or not. These recent attempts to sensationalize statistics and create click-bait headlines lack important context. Without the proper perspective, the information being pushed is completely misguided. The passion of NFL fans and teams are a big part of what makes the game so great. However, it’s no excuse for the irresponsible and baseless claims we’ve seen lately. NFL officials are committed to upholding the integrity of the game and do so every week.”
As the story notes, the Patriots have complained about receiving unfair treatment when Jerome Boger has officiated their games.
Naturally, the NFLRA is going to push back on this but the numbers and disparity don’t lie.
Pete Morelli’s crew in last FOUR Eagles games— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 13, 2017
Philly penalties - 40 for 396 yards
Opponent penalties - 8 for 72 yards
For comparison, on average in their last four Pete Morelli games, the Eagles are being flagged 10 times for 99 yards as opposed to their opponents who are being flagged two times per game for 18. As Scott Green, Director of the NFLRA, noted in the report, the cited numbers don’t factor in penalties declined, but even then anyone with eyes could see how poorly the Eagles’ Thursday Night Football game was officiated.
Green was also quick to point out clickbait headlines and articles for the general belief of biased officiating. The natural response to that would be for officials to be aware and call the game both ways as it applies. Aside from “clickbait,” fans also have eyes and can typically tell the difference between right and wrong as evidenced by the petition Eagles fans have started to ban Pete Morelli from officiating Eagles games. (The petition now has over 71,500 signatures, by the way.)
Human error is always going to factor into officiating, but the large disparity between teams is always going to raise questions and draw criticism.