Seahawks Insider

Category: Officiating


Officially speaking, vol. 16a

12 26 2006 Week 16 Refs by Game.jpgOur ref stats make more sense when the names are tied to specific games. The chart at right presents the information that way.

Now we can see which coaches issued the most challenges against which referees, and the results. We can see which road teams had the most penalty problems. And we can see which referee had the weekend off.

We’ll be refining this stuff during the offseason, which is less than a week away for most teams.


Officially speaking, vol. 16

The last 14 months have been unusually eventful for NFL umpire Garth DeFelice. He suffered a mild concussion during an October 2004 game, then worked the properly officiated Super Bowl after last season. He is back in the news after getting struck in the neck by a David Garrard pass Sunday.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled weekly officiating update. Week 16 featured a season-high 12 coach-initiated replay reversals. The previous high had been eight, set in Week 15. My records show 83 coach-initiated reversals this season. It’s pretty remarkable that we’ve had 24.1 percent of them in a two-week period.

Mike Holmgren got into the action with his reversal Sunday. Holmgren (2-2 in challenges) is one of 10 head coaches with a .500 or better winning percentage in challenges this season. The Jaguars’ Jack Del Rio lost one for the first time this season. He had been the only coach without a failed challenge in 2006. Del Rio still leads the league in replay winning percentage, which won’t do him much good if the Jags miss the playoffs. Ref-by-ref and coach-by-coach breakdowns are below.

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Winter gets the call

Ron Winter is the referee assigned to the Seahawks-Chargers game, according to the flip card posted here. The Seahawks are 2-2 in regular-season games and 1-0 in playoff games under coach Mike Holmgren when Winter serves as referee. Those regular-season games were played on the road (2005 at Rams, 2001 at Giants, 2000 at Falcons, 2000 at Dolphins). The home game was the divisional playoff matchup with the Redskins last season. Nothing unusual jumps out about those games from an officiating standpoint. Going back a few years, Winter’s crew presided over that Giants-49ers playoff game with the missed pass-interference call that hurt the Giants. This is a different crew.

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49ers’ Wragge fined for hit on Herndon

The NFL has levied a $5,000 fine against 49ers OL Tony Wragge. Officials flagged Wragge for a personal foul after he hit Seahawks CB Kelly Herndon after an 11-yard pass play to Antonio Bryant late in the third quarter. The penalty moved the 49ers back to their 13-yard line, but Alex Smith found Arnaz Battle for a 54-yard gain on the next play (Herndon made the tackle).


Officially speaking, vol. 15

Penalties seem to even out over the course of a season. The instant-replay stats are another story. We’re noticing that some crews get challenged much more frequently than other crews. We’re noticing that some crews get overturned much more frequently than others. It could be that these crews make more mistakes, or that the referee is more honest about what he sees during a replay, or both, or neither. Walt Coleman’s crew has been challenged 22 times, compared to only 10 times for Tony Corrente’s crew. Full league-wide officiating breakout is below.

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Morelli gets the call, again

Peter Morelli is the referee assigned to work the Seahawks’ game against the 49ers on Thursday night. He also worked the team’s game against Kansas City this season. That game was notable because Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren won a replay challenge (his fifth replay victory since 2000). The reversal gave Seattle possession late in the game after Deion Branch stripped the ball from a Chiefs defender.

The Seahawks lost the game, dropping Seattle to 1-3 under Holmgren when Morelli presides as referee (all since 2003). The lone victory was against San Francisco at home in 2003 (although there were 105 penalty yards against Seattle, tied for second-most against the Seahawks in the Holmgren era). Morelli also worked Seattle’s historic 2004 home loss to the Rams in which the Seahawks surrendered a 17-point fourth-quarter lead. Full officiating breakdown below.

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Officially speaking, vol 14

I’ve added a couple of twists to our usual weekly update on officiating. The chart below ranks every referee by highest overall replay reversal rate. The numbers along the left edge of the chart show how many times each referee has worked a Seahawks game this season. The big shock is that the league has not assigned Super Bowl XL referee Bill Leavy to a Seahawks game this season. We see from the chart that Larry Nemmers has already doubled up on Seattle (it’s routine for teams to see a referee more than once in a season). If the league doesn’t get around to assigning Leavy to one of the Seahawks’ final three games, perhaps they’ll send him to Qwest Field for a first-round playoff game. Note: The numbers in the column at far right show how many more penalties each referee’s crew has assessed against road teams.

12 11 2006 Ref Breakdown Thru Week 14.jpg

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Hawks draw first-year ref

Gene Steratore is the referee assigned to work the Seattle-Arizona game tomorrow, according to the flip card. Steratore has never worked a Seattle game as referee, no surprise given that this is his first season as an NFL referee. He worked a 2004 home victory over the 49ers as field judge on Bill Carollo’s crew.

This season, Steratore’s crew has assessed 15.5 penalties per game, second-most in the league, according to my records. Coaches have challenged him eight times, winning five reversals. That leaves him with the third-highest reversal rate (.625) in coach-initiated challenges. Note that Cardinals coach Dennis Green has a 1-6 record in replay challenges this season. Mike Holmgren’s challenge record is 1-2. Steratore is one of four referees this season whose crew has assessed fewer penalties against road teams (seven fewer in his case).

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