NFL “Official” Analysis

No, no, I’m not making any claims to be the best or official analyzer for the NFL. Rather, I was wondering whether anyone has ever attempted to perform some sort of analysis on the officiating crews for NFL games. With all the hoopla and conspiracy theories regarding whether the NFL wants the Patriots to continue their undefeated season, I thought it would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between certain officials reffing certain games, and then I realized there would probably not be enough data to see how a crew performs on a team-by-team basis, but there would be enough data to compare them to other officiating crews throughout the season in terms of how many penalties they call as opposed to other crews. Once I finish my gamebook parser with the play-by-play I’ll also know how many of what type of penalty was called and so you can find the crews with the most holding calls, pass interference, etc.

I’m still working on gathering all the data for this (I have the parsing program working for certain sections, but now I have the tedious task of downloading all the pdfs and converting them to html for all the games) but once I have it, can anyone suggest the types of regressions I should perform to try to discover something useful? I have some background in statistics, but not as much as I’d like, though I’m definitely willing to learn. I’m planning on including the officials data in my xml file of the box score for the game, so everyone else can use that data as well.


1 Response to “NFL “Official” Analysis”

  1. 1 BradH February 15, 2008 at 1:33 pm


    I just came across your blog. I hope you are still working on this project, because I think it’s important. If you were a student at mu university, I’d hire you in a minute to do this work.

    In terms of what to do with these data when you get them collected, you could look at the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sport

    or the Journal of Sports Economics

    for some ideas. Or email me for some suggestions.


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