The 2018 NFL season will be remembered for plenty of memorable highlights. Fans will also look back on the regular season for the officiating, especially in a year where there seemed to be more flags than big plays.
According to Rick Gosselin, the NFL’s officiating crews set a league record with 3,447 penalties called during the 2018 regular season.
NFL crews assessed a record 3,447 penalties in 2018. First-year referees Shawn Hochuli and Shawn Smith and their crews finished 1-2 in penalties with the Hochuli crew assessing 253 and the Smith crew 228.
— Rick Gosselin (@RickGosselin9) January 1, 2019
It likely doesn’t come as a surprise to many fans across the country. This season was marked not just by the number of penalties or officials not knowing what a catch is, the missed calls were just as brutal.
Philadelphia Eagles fans certainly don’t forget the missed facemask penalty by Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney on Nick Foles. Indianapolis Colts fans remember the embarrassing gaffe by refs that robbed the team of a final play at the end of the game.
Of course, Green Bay Packers fans will never forget the unfathomable roughing the passer call on outside linebacker Clay Matthews that robbed the team of a win against the Minnesota Vikings
The league office has a problem it desperately needs to address. When fans, multiple players and much of the NFL community are routinely calling out clear issues with the referees, it is something that needs to be addressed.
Given first-year referees Shawn Hochuli’s (253) and Shawn Smith’s (228) crews led the league in penalties assessed, it might be time for a full offseason to be spent educating and re-training all referees.