The Weekly Impact of NFL Referees

Home teams do well under the NFL's senior referee

Arrowhead Stadium offers a tremendous homefield advantage for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Lambeau Field in Green Bay and Lumen Field in Seattle also provide significant homefield advantages for the Packers and Seahawks respectively.

But the best homefield advantage comes where games are officiated by Carl Cheffers, the NFL’s senior referee. He enters his 16th season in 2023. He has worked 225 regular-season games – and the home team has prevailed in 60.4 percent of them (135-88-2).

There are 17 NFL officiating crews and only two others have a home team’s winning percentage topping 60 percent but neither has the service record of Cheffers. Tra Blake has been a referee for one season and home teams were 11-5 with his crew last year for a winning percentage of 68.7. John Hussey has been a referee for eight seasons and the home team has prevailed in 62.8 percent of his 121 games (76-45).

Conversely, there are four referees that have a home-team winning percentage under .500 – Craig Wrolstad, Adrian Hill, Brad Rogers and Scott Novak.

Wrolstad has been a referee for nine seasons, working 137 regular season games, and home teams have won 48.1 percent of their games (66-71). The other three referees are all entering their fifth seasons. Hill and Novak have worked 62 games apiece and Rogers 60. Home teams have won 46.8 percent of the time with Hill, 43.3 percent of the time with Rogers and 41.1 percent of the time with Novak.

As a point of reference, over the last five seasons NFL home teams have won 53.8 percent of the time.

The downside for home teams when Cheffers officiates is the abundance of flags. His crews have assessed an average of 13.5 penalties per game for 118.7 yards. Only two other crews have assessed an average of 13 penalties per game, those of Rogers and Shawn Hochuli. Both crews have assessed 13.4 penalties per game with Rogers marching off an average of 117.9 yards and Hochuli 117.3. Hochuli has been a referee for five seasons and Rogers four.

At the other end of the spectrum is referee Bill Vinovich, who ranks second on the seniority list to Cheffers. He has been a referee for 14 season and has worked 210 regular-season games. But he is assessing an average of only 11 penalties per game for 91.2 yards.

As a point of reference, over the last five NFL seasons there have been an average of 12.4 penalties assessed per game for 104.1 yards.

RefereeYearsGamesPenalties Per GameYards Per GameHome WinsHome LossesTies
Carl Cheffers1522513.5118.7135882
Brad Rogers46013.4117.926340
Shawn Hochuli57613.4117.338380
Alex Kemp57812.7109.841370
Adrian Hill46312.5106.529331
Clete Blakeman1319612.5105.7106891
Craig Wrolstad913712.4108.066710
Land Clark34712.4107.824212
Brad Allen913712.4103.772641
Ron Torbert913812.3108.181570
Shaun Smith57712.2108.538381
Clay Martin57512.1102.839360
Tra Blake11612.199.51150
John Hussey812111.9101.276450
Scott Novak46211.894.225361
Bill Vinovich1421011.091.2119901
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