One of the constant conversation topics among fans and media this season, has been how NFL officials have impacted the game more than ever.
Now, we have solid statistical proof for why that was such a prevalent topic: NFL officials set a record in 2018, for most penalties called in a season.
NFL crews assessed a record 3,447 penalties in 2018. First-year referees Shawn Hochuli and Shawn Smith and their crews finished 1-2 in penalties with the Hochuli crew assessing 253 and the Smith crew 228.
— Rick Gosselin (@RickGosselin9) January 1, 2019
Those numbers are nothing less than staggering. If Hochuli’s crew worked 17 games this year, that means they assessed nearly 15 penalties per game. If they worked only 16, the math comes out to nearly 16 penalties per game.
Either way, that’s horrendous.
What will also stick in the memories of fans is not just the number of penalties, but the complete insanity of some of many of the calls that were made.
Most notably, the roughing the passer calls on Clay Matthews, one of which cost the Packers a game. The no-calls of a helmet-to-helmet hit and a pass interference penalty, that might have cost the Redskins two games. Not to mention the time the refs missed a blatant facemask penalty by Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney.
So, the problems are not just with the calls the officials are making, but also with the calls they’re not making.
If the players are committing legitimate rules violations, than the calls have to be made. However, as has been noticed by fans and media alike, too often the calls are completely inconsistent and nonsensical. This is definitely something the league has to address in the offseason.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn