During the AFC championship game, the New England Patriots had a glaring advantage over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the penalty department. Over the course of the game, the officiating crew cited the Patriots for just one 10-yard penalty, the fewest called on a team in a playoff since the 2011 AFC championship game, which also involved the Patriots. The Jaguars were assessed six penalties for 98 yards, two of which had a significant impact on the game. This led a lot of speculation about the officiating crew being biased toward the Pats.
This ref seems a bit TOO happy about the Patriots TD. Almost like he’s bias towards the NE or something… pic.twitter.com/mZgFiWbl2f
— Evan W. Salabarria (@bearded_evan) January 21, 2018
New England was awarded 50 first down via penalty, the most in the league during the regular season. During the playoffs, they got six more, tying them with the Minnesota Vikings for the most this preseason. According to The Washington Post, their net penalty margin (27) and net penalty-yard differential (313) rank second. If you look at the 2017 regular season and playoffs combined, they rank first.
What we know is that the officiating crew scheduled to call Super Bowl LII has favored New England in the games they have worked prior to Super Bowl Sunday.
The Eagles’ penalty margin was the fourth-worst during the regular season and their net penalty-yard differential ranked 21st during the regular season. During the playoffs, the team has been penalized eight times for 79 yards while their opponents have been flagged six times for 87 yards.