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Thread: Flags

  1. #1
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    Jul 2010
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    All fans, of all sports, like to complain about officiating and calls.

    In the NFL, with just 16 games, even one lost (or won) to a bad (or iffy) call, can decide playoff spots. So, how do crews do? How often do they flag? Well, with some reseach, we can find out. Here's this seasons NFL crew flag rate.

    Interesting note: The NFL has 17 crews, but at most 16 games per week. So, every week, there will be at least one crew off. I will denote off weeks with astericks before the referee's name. Each one indicates one week off. Though two weeks, here's where we are:

    John Hussey: 46 (39 accepted)
    John Parry: 43 (38 accepted)
    Pete Morelli: 40 (35 accepted)
    Ron Torbert: 39 (31 accepted)
    Jeff Triplette: 38 (28 accepted)
    Terry McCauley: 37 (30 accepted)
    Walt Anderson: 36 (29 accepted)
    Ed Hochuli: 35 (29 accepted)
    Craig Wrolstad: 35 (30 accepted)
    Gene Steretore: 33 (23 accepted)
    Jerome Boger: 32 (30 accepted)
    Brad Allen: 31 (23 accepted)
    *Tony Corente: 31 (26 accepted)
    Clete Blakeman: 30 (29 accepted)
    Carl Cheffers: 30 (26 accepted)
    Bill Vinovich: 23 (20 accepted)
    *Walt Coleman: 21 (17 accepted)

    Things that stand out to me:

    Tony Corente throws a lot of flags. He threw as many, or more, in 1 game, than 4 other crews threw in two.

    Clete Blakeman seems to be the most accurate ref with 29 of his 30 flags being accepted.

    On the other hand, Jeff Tripplette and Gene Steretore, each have 10 not accepted. It's 27 percent for Triplette and 31 percent for Steretore. This would seem to me to be in indication that they are making a lot of ticky tack calls that don't actually affect plays, so the team they are benefitting doesn't want the penalty yards. It will be something to keep an eye on and see if the trend continues.
    "False Start everyone but the center." Gene Steretore. Pats vs Jets. 12/24/16.

  2. #2
    Triplette was absolutely awful this week.

    This was ruled a fumble, reviewed, and upheld.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2010
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    Yeah, my profiles can't show mistakes like that, or non-calls, like when you see the hold live on TV, but there's no flag.

    At least not yet.

    If I can find a reliable source, I'll add those elements in.
    "False Start everyone but the center." Gene Steretore. Pats vs Jets. 12/24/16.

  4. #4
    I started charting white hats last year, due to finding this site

    but I don't chart flags, I chart only ATS (against the spread) and totals (over/under) outcome for each white hat

    Their is a gamebook for each game at I did notice penalties, but I don't recall anything as far as "flags by officiating crew member"

    that would be really interesting...
    it's not just black and white, there's some grey areas to go over ...

  5. #5
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    Jul 2010
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    Week 3 Update:

    John Parry: 68 (57 accepted, 11 declined)
    Walt Anderson: 60 (51 accepted, 5 declined, 4 offsetting)
    John Hussey: 59 (50 accepted, 5 declined, 4 offsetting)
    Ron Torbert: 57 (46 accepted, 9 declined, 2 offsetting)
    Jeff Triplette: 57 (46 accepted, 11 declined)
    Ed Hochuli: 54 (47 accepted, 5 declined, 2 offsetting)
    Craig Wrolstad: 53 (47 accepted, 4 declined, 2 offsetting)
    Pete Morelli: 52 (46 accepted, 6 declined)
    Clete Blakeman: 51 (47 accepted, 4 declined)
    Terry McCauley: 50 (40 accepted, 10 declined)
    Gene Steretore: 50 (34 accepted, 13 declined, 3 offsetting)
    Jerome Boger: 48 (41 accepted, 7 declined)
    Bill Vinovich: 46 (36 accepted, 10 declined)
    *Tony Corente: 45 (36 accepted, 7 declined, 2 offsetting)
    Carl Cheffers: 41 (37 accepted, 4 declined)
    *Walt Coleman: 33 (28 accepted, 5 declined)
    *Brad Allen: 31 (23 accepted, 5 declined, 3 offsetting)

    Things that stand out:

    Most crews toss about 17 flags per game and have about 85 percent of those flags accepted. (Note that these numbers do not account for picked up flags. I have yet to find tracking for that.)

    Some crews stand out as outliers.

    John Parry leads the NFL at 22.6 per game. Tony Corrente is just behind him at 22.5 (Corrente has had 45 flags thrown in just 2 game). The only other crew at 20 or more is Walt Anderson at exactly 20. Carl Cheffers, at 13.6, is the only crew at less than 15 per game.

    On the other side the real stand out is Gene Steretore. With 15 of the crews having 80% or more of the flags thrown accepted (and Bill Vinovich is close to that at 78.2), his crew has had only 68 percent of the flags they have thrown accepted. He also leads the NFL in declined penalities. This hints to me that his crew is calling a lot of iffy calls (like, for instance, illegal conduct on completed bombs).
    "False Start everyone but the center." Gene Steretore. Pats vs Jets. 12/24/16.

  6. FROM PFT: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN, the 730 accepted penalties in the first three weeks of the season are the most over that span in league history. The 2005 season was the previous leader with 716 penalties.
    I presume this to be a side effect of the new points of emphasis.
    Workin' on mysteries without any clues

  7. #7
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    Week 4 Update:

    John Hussey: 88 (78 accepted, 6 declined, 4 offsetting)
    John Parry: 80 (67 accepted, 11 declined, 2 offsetting)
    Jerome Boger: 71 (59 accepted, 10 declined, 2 offsetting)
    Jeff Triplette: 71 (58 accepted, 13 declined)
    Craig Wrolstad: 78 (70 accepted, 6 declined, 2 offsetting)
    Ed Hochuli: 76 (64 accepted, 10 declined, 2 offsetting)
    Ron Torbert: 76 (64 accepted, 10 declined, 2 offsetting)
    Bill Vinovich: 66 (54 accepted, 12 declined)
    Terry McCauley: 63 (52 accepted, 11 declined)
    Gene Steretore: 62 (43 accepted, 14 declined, 5 offsetting)
    Carl Cheffers: 59 (52 accepted, 7 declined)
    *Walt Anderson: 60 (51 accepted, 5 declined, 4 offsetting)
    Clete Blakeman: 60 (55 accepted, 5 declined)
    *Tony Corente: 54 (44 accepted, 8 declined, 2 offsetting)
    *Walt Coleman: 52 (45 accepted, 7 declined)
    *Pete Morelli: 52 (46 accepted, 6 declined)
    *Brad Allen: 46 (37 accepted, 6 declined, 3 offsetting)


    For the most part, officiating is consistent. Most crews call 15-19 per game. The outliers there are: John Hussey at 22 per game, John Parry at 20 per game and Carl Cheffers at 14.75 per game. So, if your team has one of the two John's, expect more flags.

    The other outlier is still Gene Steretore. 16 of the 17 crews have 80 percent of more of the flags that they throw accepted. His crew, however, is at 69.3 percent. What that means, in real terms, in the two time per game more than with any other crew in the NFL, his crew is stopping the game for no reason. It does not mean that the calls that are declined are wrong, it means they are not needed. There are times when a team benefits from a declined flag because of the stoppage of play.

    As an example, a gassed defense in a two minute drill. A flag is tossed, the game stops. The offense declines (maybe it was a ticky tack illegal contact but the wall was caught for more than 5 yards). The defense gets a break while the refs get together an announce it, maybe even run fresh players in. We've all seen that happen.

    On a side note, one thing I have noticed is that in most game the two teams are fairly close to each other in total flags. In fact, there have just been 9 games all season where one team has been flagged six or more times more than the opponent. Here they are, by week.


    Browns 12, Jets 4
    Bills 11, Colts 5.


    Dallas 18, Philly 8
    Oakland 16, Ravens 10
    Chicago 14, Arizona 8


    Oakland 12, Browns 6


    Bills 17, Giants 11
    Jags 13, Colts 4
    Browns 12, San Diego 6

    The team being hit by more flags are 4-5, and could easily be 2-7, given that the week 2 wins by Dallas and Oakland were very near run things. It's also interesting to note that while three teams (Bills, Browns, Raiders) have been on the bad side of this equation through 4 weeks, only one (Indy) has been on the good side more than once. And, in both of those games, the Colts were flagged for 5 or fewer total penalties. (And I am positing any sort of conspiracy. Indy has 22 flags against it in the other two games.)

    Through four weeks, the Bills lead the NFL with 47 flags, and Arizona is in last place with just 20.
    "False Start everyone but the center." Gene Steretore. Pats vs Jets. 12/24/16.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2010
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    Week 5 Update:

    John Hussey: 101 (90 accepted, 7 declined, 4 offsetting)
    John Parry: 97 (84 accepted, 11 declined, 2 offsetting)
    Jeff Triplette: 94 (79 accepted, 15 declined)
    Ron Torbert: 89 (75 accepted, 10 declined, 4 offsetting)
    Jerome Boger: 88 (72 accepted, 12 declined, 4 offsetting)
    Terry McCauley: 85 (72 accepted, 14 declined)
    Gene Steretore: 83 (61 accepted, 17 declined, 5 offsetting)
    *Walt Anderson: 81 (67 accepted, 8 declined, 6 offsetting)
    Clete Blakeman: 78 (71 accepted, 5 declined, 2 offsetting)
    Bill Vinovich: 78 (63 accepted, 13 declined, 2 offsetting)
    *Craig Wrolstad: 78 (70 accepted, 6 declined, 2 offsetting)
    *Ed Hochuli: 76 (64 accepted, 10 declined, 2 offsetting)
    *Pete Morelli: 70 (61 accepted, 7 declined)
    *Tony Corente: 67 (53 accepted, 12 declined, 2 offsetting)
    *Brad Allen: 63 (52 accepted, 8 declined, 3 offsetting)
    *Walt Coleman: 62 (55 accepted, 7 declined)
    *Carl Cheffers: 59 (52 accepted, 7 declined)

    As has been the case all season, to date, most crews call 15 to 19 per game. Three crews are at 20 or more (Terry McCauley (21.25), Walt Anderson (20.25), and John Parry (20.2)). One crew is less than 15. (Carl Cheffers (14.75)). Most crews are still at 80 percent or more accepted. Three are under 80. Pete Morelli and Tony Corente are both at 79.1%. As he has all season, Gene Steretore is trailing the field at 73.4%. At least he is over 70 now.

    Now, as I've said before, this percentage is not a perfect tool for accuracy. But, last night, we had evidence of how officals can call penalties they do not need to (which in turn brings my accepted percentage down).

    In the first half (I forget which quarter), the Steelers punted. Two flags were thrown on the play, both against the same Steeler, #41. He was called for a block in the back, and an illegal block out of bounds. As replay showed, both flags were for the exact same block! In other words, he hit a Charger, in the back, while the Charger was out of bounds. Now, there is no need to call both fouls. The first one, the block in the back, was automatically declined by her hit OOB personal foul. So, just call the personal foul! Don't waste time calling the first one, just call the second, since they are literally the exact same hit!

    Two teams were called for 6 or more fouls more than the opponent:

    The Texans was called for 13, Indy for 7. (This is the third time, in 5 games, that the Colts have been flagged significantly less than the opponent)
    Tampa was called for 10, Jacksonville for 3.

    Teams that have been called for 6 or more than the opponent are now 5-6.

    Buffalo leads the NFL with 54 penalties, Minnesota and Carolina are in last with 27 each. For the second week in a row, the Bills have double the penalties of the last place team.
    "False Start everyone but the center." Gene Steretore. Pats vs Jets. 12/24/16.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Santiago, Chile
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    Are the Colts getting flagged less because of disciplined coaching?

    The Bills are clearly running hot and with less discipline.

    Any source for figuring which flags are thrown on Special teams. This is compeltley anecdotal, but it seems 50% of punts and kickoffs have a flag thrown.
    “Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.”
    ― Napoleon Bonaparte

  10. #10
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    Jul 2010
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    For the Colts, it seems to me that it's very crew dependant. For instance, against the Texans, they held JJ Watt basically every play, with two guys usually on him, and they were not called, once, for holding. (In fact, the one time they did not hold JJ, he pulled up after Hasselbeck threw, brushed Matt with his hands, Matt flops, and they flag JJ for roughing). Against the Pats, they tried that, and Costanzo was called for holding three times, two were accepted.

    There have been 1354 penalties called this season so far. 219 of those were called on special teams.
    "False Start everyone but the center." Gene Steretore. Pats vs Jets. 12/24/16.


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