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With the Green Bay Packers' week 5 game against the St. Louis Rams coming up quickly, Packers fans learned today of the referee crew assigned for Sunday's game. Here's the announcement from Football Zebras, an excellent resource for NFL officiating:
Referee for Rams at Packers — Brad Allen http://t.co/k6tM5QrvmV— Football Zebras (@footballzebras) October 9, 2015
Normally, referee assignments are rarely noteworthy. Aside from getting Ed Hochuli (GUN SHOW!) or Jeff Triplette (guaranteed to screw up at least three crucial calls), it's not a big deal.Well, one way in which Brad Allen and his crew stand out from the crowd is in calling penalties.
First, let's get some background on the two teams involved. The Packers sit 16th in the NFL in fewest penalty yards per game so far in 2015, but they're 29th in fewest individual penalties. The Rams, by comparision, are 21st and 8th, respectively.
First of all, that discrepancy shows that the Packers are called far more frequently for minor 5-yard infractions than the Rams, and that the Rams' penalties, while less common, are more serious.
Now back to Allen. Research from ESPN's Kevin Seifert shows that his crew has thrown, on average, the fewest flags per game this season of any squad of officials:
Here are some more stats from Pro Football Reference, which address only accepted penalties. Still, on a per-game basis, Allen's crew has thrown three fewer flags for nearly 40 fewer yards than the NFL average. Furthermore, if you think this is just due to small sample size, this crew showed the same trend a year ago, with two fewer penalties for 18 fewer yards per game compared to the average crew.
All in all, the flags for offsides and 12 men on the field that Aaron Rodgers has been so adept at drawing at home should be caught regardless of the crew. However, it seems likely that both teams will get away with a little more holding or contact in the defensive backfield on Sunday than they normally would be able to. That could lead to a little extra fantasy points, as the offensive lines could protect the quarterbacks and open up some running lanes better than normal.