Officially speaking: Refs in spotlight


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

NFL officiating crews have assessed between nine and 17.4 penalties per game this season. The range was between 8.9 and 14.3 last season.

The chart breaks down crews by referee, penalties assessed per game, replay challenges and replay reversals.

NFC West teams have lamented several influential calls already this season. A few:

  • In Week 1, Gene Steratore's crew flagged 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald for roughing the passer on a third-and-9 play. The disputed penalty helped the Cardinals sustain a third-quarter touchdown drive as they extended a 13-10 lead to 20-10.

  • In Week 2, Jerome Boger's crew flagged Seahawks safety Deon Grant for pass interference, negating an interception in the end zone. Replays revealed the call as dubious. The 49ers scored a touchdown shortly thereafter.

  • In Week 7, Peter Morelli's crew ruled Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo down, negating a lost fumble. The call appeared unwarranted.

Referees and their crews make the right calls hundreds of times each season. That buys them little relief when calls go wrong. Ed Hochuli knows this better than most.

I'm keeping a log of questionable calls involving NFC West teams this season. The three listed above stood out. If you have others, let me know. Thanks in advance.