Tuesday, the NFL announced that Clete Blakeman’s crew would be officiating the Los Angeles Chargers Wild Card match-up in Baltimore on Sunday. Usually referee crews are not a huge deal in terms of which crew gets each game, as they are suppose to officiate fairly and unbiased, but Chargers fans might remember the dreaded week 16 game against this same Ravens team.
Did you know Blakeman’s crew called that game? The refs seemed dreadful if you were cheering for the Chargers. As a friend of mine (who is biased as a Viking fan) put it after the game, “The Refs were maybe a 4 out of 10, but if you were a Ravens fan you would say 10/10.”
The official numbers for that game go as follows. Baltimore had four penalties for 40 yards while the Chargers had eight penalties for 69 yards. That doesn’t sound horrible, but if you watch the game, you would see poorly timed bad calls on the Chargers throughout the game.
Some may say this is a one game occurence, and it is nothing to focus on, but there is an interesting trend when it comes Blakeman and calling Ravens games in general. The Ravens are 8-2 in games where Blakeman has refereed, with the Ravens last loss being in 2014. If you remember the playoffs that season, The Ravens and Steelers matched up in the opening round and the Ravens won that game 30-17. The Steelers were penalized eight times for 114 yards while the Ravens were penalized twice for 14 yards. The Ravens victory is the only road team to win a playoff game in which Blakeman has called.
As for the Chargers, they are 0-2 in games that Blakeman has called this season, including week 1 against Kansas City. The Chargers are 8-5 all time in games he has called, and 0-1 in playoff games. The last time the Chargers were in the playoffs, Blakeman was the referee.
I am not one to blame wins and losses on the refs, and the Chargers loss to the Ravens two weeks ago was not completely on the refs, as the offense could not move the ball anyway. But I still feel like it is a bad idea to have a crew work the same match-up in the same season. If there are any bias’ a ref might have, whether it be in favor of, or against a team, they can become more evident when calling the same match-up in a single season. It also is a bad idea to have the same crew call a game that happened two weeks ago.
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