Does home cooking work with replacement referees?
The sample size is too small to make any conclusions but Rick Gosselin, the fine columnist from the Dallas Morning News, came up with a terrific statistic on replacement referees from Week 1.
According to Gosselin, replacement officials called 26 more penalties against visiting teams in the 16 Week 1 games. It added up to 104 calls against the road teams and 78 calls against home teams. “Replacement refs seemed affected by crowd,” Gosselin noted.
Again, one week isn’t a large enough sample size to draw a conclusion – not over an average difference of 1.63 penalties per game – but it is intriguing and worth following moving forward.
UPDATED: As Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas pointed out, the Week 1 sample was pretty much in line with what happened a year ago. In Week 1 of 2011, visiting teams were called for 42.3 percent of penalties. This year the figure was 43.6 percent.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune