Bias in NFL Referees

While football fans have always been quick to see errors by the officiating crews, recently there has been a much more serious tone. Fans in Denver are upset about Bill Vinovich’s officiating in Bronco games, and Eagles fans are incensed with Pete Morelli. Eagles fans point to the horrible penalty disparity, while Broncos fans point to an anomalous win/loss ratio. The fan bases feel betrayed by the officials.

The concerns have generated some responses from higher up. Mike Florio addressed conspiracy theories by superciliously dismissing them, the NFLRA issued a statement to refute them, and Nick wrote an excellent post summarizing the main arguments. Unfortunately the arguments tend to be either appeals to authority or arguments from incredulity, both of which are the same as the uncritical denunciation of the officials. As a scientist, I wanted to get past the emotional and look at the actual data to see if there were discernable trends that would point to some sort of bias.

Continue reading Bias in NFL Referees

Are Pending Free Agent QBs Really Options?

Earlier today, Nick examined the quarterback landscape and noted that the majority of the NFL teams are facing situations in which they either need a new starting QB or will likely need one in the future.

The Broncos made the list and, given the concerns regarding Trevor Siemian’s play and whether or not Paxton Lynch is the long-term answer, some thoughts are turning to next season and the potential free agent QBs.

As Nick noted, there could be other QBs that hit free agency, but a few are known to be eligible for unrestricted free agency if they aren’t extended, one will be a restricted free agent and one may very well hit free agency if he chooses to do that.

But it’s worth asking: Is it really guaranteed that the Broncos could land one of these quarterbacks?

Let’s examine the likelihood of certain QBs coming to the Broncos next season and what to keep in mind if they hit free agency. I’m only focusing on those who may become unrestricted or restricted free agents, not players who might get cut after the season.
Continue reading Are Pending Free Agent QBs Really Options?

2018 Could See Seismic Shifts In Quarterback Locations

There’s an undercurrent in the NFL I’ve been noticing that’s silent now but could swell considerably at any moment. What that is that I can’t remember another time in which so many quarterback situations are in flux for the following season.

I can only count 12 teams that unquestionably won’t significantly be in the market for a quarterback in 2018. Those teams are the Colts, Titans, Raiders, Cowboys, Eagles, Lions, Packers, Falcons, Panthers, Bucs, Rams, and Seahawks. That means that as many as 20 teams could see some sort of notable quarterback change next year.  Let’s take a look at those 20 teams, and the challenges that could face them at the position. Continue reading 2018 Could See Seismic Shifts In Quarterback Locations