Study Suggests There Is an NFL Officiating Bias Against the Raiders

jon gruden

Getty Raiders HC Jon Gruden.

Long have fans of the Raiders bemoaned how their team is officiated compared to other teams in the NFL. This has been the case for decades as the Raiders have been on the receiving end of some of the most controversial calls in NFL history. Even though the team isn’t nearly as polarizing as they were back in the day.

Jon Gruden frequently complains about officiating and it’s looking like there could be plenty of merit to his complaints.

Study Suggests There Is an NFL Officiating Bias Against  Raiders

Now, there isn’t a fan of any NFL team who hasn’t complained about NFL officiating ad nauseam, but this new study by suggests that the Raiders are targeted more often than other teams.

“For the 2019 season, the greatest differential between penalties against and penalties for once again is held by the Oakland Raiders,” says the report, courtesy of Silver and Black Today.

The comprehensive report from the Ethical Skeptic is pretty convincing the bias the NFL shows against the Raiders. As Silver and Black Today pointed out, the second least penalized team in the league in 2019 were teams that played the Raiders.

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Undisciplined or Targets?

It’s easy to blame the team for being penalized at a high rate as that’s always been the case for them. However, Ethical Skeptic Dispels that notion.

“I labored under that myth for decades,” he told the Silver and Black Tonight show on CBS Sports Radio 1140. “This year, when I looked at the penalties, I defined a class of penalty called the discipline class. That’s a class of penalties like delay of game, too many players on the field, neutral zone infractions, encroachment, false start – all those things the fans can easily see on TV and easy to pick off those penalties.

“Those are the indicators of the team’s discipline and coaching, and discipline in regard to that type of penalty control in their game. Surprisingly, when I looked at those classes of penalties for the Raiders, they were at 80% of the NFL average. In other words, they were in the top third in discipline when it comes to those types of penalties.”

What Ethical Skeptic is saying that the Raiders are actually among the best in the NFL in avoiding simple penalties that should be easily avoided by well-disciplined teams. He goes on to mention that when it comes to subjective calls, the Raiders falter.

“The vast majority of the penalty incident imbalances involve calls of merely subtle interpretation,” Ethical Skeptic says. “These are plays that can be called on every single play but are not called for certain teams and are more heavily called on others.

“With these types of penalties, the Raiders are penalized at double the rate of the NFL average. Especially as it pertains to first downs, automatic first downs and scoring drive sustaining penalties.”

It’s difficult to exactly measure if the Raiders deserved to be targeted on all these subjective type penalties, but the fact that the team is penalized at double the rate of the NFL average is a pretty shocking statistic.

Systemic or Intentional?

Before fans go after the NFL over a conspiratorial targeting of the Raiders, the problem could be more indicative of some sort of systemic bias.

“I want to make it clear here, we’re not accusing referees of being dishonest,” Ethical Skeptic told Silver and Black Today. “They’re hard-working people, they’re honest people, but we know there are mechanisms of systemic bias and the organization itself is creating the bias. And you don’t undertake the corrections – the quality control methodology that you need to correct the product that’s being delivered to your customers – that’s when you get into the area of doing things wrong as an organization.”

It remains to be seen if the NFL will do anything about this reported bias against the Raiders. The league is notorious for dragging their feet on serious issues. Regardless, the Raiders have been able to overcome the penalties in the past and could do it again with the right coaching and talent.

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