Penalty Stats 2003-2017

Submitted by Dennis on October 27th, 2017 at 10:05 PM
I got bored with the Astros game so I did some drunk stat collection. I'm taking some averages of averages... but cardinality says you can suck an egg. Avg. Penalties Per game since 2003: 4.94 Avg. Per home game since 2003: 4.93 (can a home team get some love?) Avg. Per away game since 2003: 4.86 Jim Harbaugh team (2015-current) avg. Penalties per game: 6.53 JH team avg. Per home game:6.4 JH team avg. Per away game: 6.73 Do what you will with this information. Sauce:



October 28th, 2017 at 2:57 AM ^

it's a higher rate of crap calls. If you've ever actually been an official, you probably suspect this already.

It might just be 2015--learning brand new system, 2017--young kids, who are learning a system that is relatively new to them, injuries, etc.

There are other actual possibilities than "the refs are out to get us."

Of course in some particular games... it sure as heck seems like the freaking refs are out to freaking get us.


October 27th, 2017 at 11:14 PM ^

I think there is a lot that goes into trending this data that simply isn't captured in some 10,000 foot level stat. It would be interesting to correlate this to rule changes and / or whatever memorandums on enforcement float around the referee world. That, and I wish StatTracker had data on the tendencies of individual refs like they do in baketball. It would be interesting to see which crews had a tendency to call certain penalties and how often they did it. 


October 28th, 2017 at 12:03 AM ^

Looking at them year by year, the obvious take away (mine at least) is that Harbaugh isn't emphasizing discipline adequately. Surprisingly both Hoke and Richrod team's were generally low in penalties (and my impression of their teams was always a lack of discipline, e.g., turnovers and poor tackling). 


October 28th, 2017 at 12:07 AM ^

It's not necessarily that simple.  Some penalties, like pass interference, are judgment calls and a more aggressive secondary may get called for more than a terrible one that puts up little resistance.  A strong pass-rushing team likewise may draw more roughing-the-passer penalties.


October 28th, 2017 at 2:28 AM ^

Harbaughs teams have been getting called on a bunch of ticky tack stuff that you just dont see elsewhere. For instance, Perry got flaged for spinning the ball and not taunting, which is a big distinction because if he did that in the face of the db he beat it would have been a good flag. However, they called him on a violation that is meant to speed up the game by not having players throw balls and make refs go get them. This literally happens several times a week, particularly if an offense gets called for delay after almost getting the snap off. In this situation you often see the qb angerly throw the ball into the ground in the direction of the center, whic typically makes the ref go out of his way further than they had to with Perry. I litterally see this at least once a weekend, and often several times. Yet, no call. Ever.

Other examples include the LS getting called for olding because he is bulldozed and falls to the ground and trips the guy running him over, Chase getting called for defensive holding for grabbing the jersey of a lineman right before he get pancaked,  and the biggest one from last year, harbaugh getting a personal foul because it was T in basketball. You just dont see this stuff being called in other games. It is kind of crazy to think about really.

Moreover, teams just are not getting many flags called on them when they play Michigan.

Red Dragon

October 28th, 2017 at 9:25 AM ^

I want to agree with all of what you said but I can’t. You are looking at this with Blue colored glasses on. I have to think that other teams fans would see the same things relative to their teams. I need to see further breakdown to agree if there is s Harbaugh bias by the refs. Until I do, I see teams trotted out on the field with less discipline than Hokes did. And I can’t believe it........


October 28th, 2017 at 12:15 AM ^

The stat I'd like to see is the year to year difference in Michigan avg game penalties from Big Ten per game average.

But I don't think it's that important.

This is Michigan

October 28th, 2017 at 12:24 AM ^

Not enough information to come to any reasonable conclusion but I commend you for your drunken effort.

If the null hypothesis is that Jim Harbaugh coached teams at Michigan commit more penalties per game, then the analysis needs compare the number of penalties called to the number of non-called penalties.

number of called penalties / (number of called penalties + number of non-called penalties)  

If refs miss more penalties for Michigan then it might confirm that Michigan sinmply commits more penalties.

If refs miss the same number of penalties then it could suggest that refs are biased towards throwing the flag against Michigan.




October 28th, 2017 at 2:13 AM ^

A more interesting look would be at how few michigans opponents have compared to their average in non Michigan games. I think this will be very telling.


October 28th, 2017 at 4:40 AM ^

I think you might be misunderstanding my point.  I am talking about the amount of calls the other teams get called on them. PSU just had one called the whole game, and last year OSU had 2 in a double ot game. Basically, they had to play near perfect games to avhieve this.

My comment is not about how sloppy Michigan is playing, it is that most games are not called the same way. Particularly with judgement calls. Other teams have run blatent picks, yet I cant think of one OPI called on them. How many times have our D Line drawn holding calls? I rememeber one from the MSU game and nothing since. Moreover, I don't remember much before. Yet, in many UFR we see many holding calls that are pretty blatent not called.

There is no question this team has been sloppy and undisciplined. However, in a lot of games Michigan is getting called for things the other teams are not.


October 28th, 2017 at 4:50 AM ^

Of our penalties in losses vs the other team. If we get screwed vs MSU but then the next week they make up with Illinois that doesnt balance it. Although it may make it look that way.


October 28th, 2017 at 5:30 AM ^

To me averages on penalties do not matter much. More important to me is when the penalties are occuring. Are these penalties calling back TDs or are they in garbage time? Are the penalties that are keeping opponents drives alive or ending Michigan drives? Are they against good teams or the Rutgers type teams? What type of penalties are being called vs what the other team is being called for?  



October 28th, 2017 at 9:48 AM ^

I looked at a very crude estimate of penalties accepted vs and for you over the years, and Michigan hasn't really been all that screwed except when they are young and/or bad. It's something like over the past 10 years, Michigan has had fewer penalties accepted against them than their opponents 7 of 10 seasons. So it's not like Michigan has gotten an unfavorable whistle.


October 28th, 2017 at 11:04 AM ^

The plethora of offensive holding calls is because our RT position is a mess - that needs to be fixed. The PI calls are because the new guys are aggressive and learning the boundary between what is flagged and what is not. The rest of the flags are due to inexperience, too many offensive coaches creating confusion, etc. So I don't see sloppy as much as I see frustrated and confused.