Study reveals referees' home bias...

MerryJ99
03-02-2009, 02:42 PM
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Study+reveals+referees+home+bias/1343770/story.html


New research confirms what many NHL hockey fans have long suspected, that referees consistently call more penalties on visiting teams.

In a sampling of more than 2,300 power plays from Jan. 1 through mid-February, home teams had 11.5 per cent more man advantages than did visitors.


This is kind of interesting to say the least.

AK
03-02-2009, 02:44 PM
Interesting, indeed.

I have to think it's just human nature. There's an intimidation factor involved that makes some people involuntarily do things differently than they might usually. The fear of getting relentlessly booed probably just causes some officials to call games differently in order to avoid it.

Risiko
03-02-2009, 02:45 PM
One more reason why home ice advantage is so important for the playoffs.

le_sean
03-02-2009, 02:46 PM
Interesting, indeed.

I have to think it's just human nature. There's an intimidation factor involved that makes some people involuntarily do things differently than they might usually. The fear of getting relentlessly booed probably just causes some officials to call games differently in order to avoid it.

Or maybe it's because teams generally play better at home which prompts a few more penalties from the away team.

There are a million possibilities.

Blueline Bomber
03-02-2009, 02:48 PM
Yeah, there are plenty of reasons for more penalties to be called for the home team than "referee bias".

Since home teams get the line matchups, you can exploit the weakness in the opponent's team.

If the home team sends out a speedy line against an opponent's slower one, then there's more likely to be hooking or tripping calls against the away team, yeah?

ScottyDoesntKnow
03-02-2009, 02:51 PM
Or maybe it's because teams generally play better at home which prompts a few more penalties from the away team.

There are a million possibilities.

Or do they play better because they have more powerplays.

Hmm ;)

I Agree with you could be a lot of things, but I would think it would go the other way in this context. If the home team plays better, and get a 3-0 lead, aren't the officials more inclined to give penalties to the home team to even things up ?

AK
03-02-2009, 02:52 PM
Or maybe it's because teams generally play better at home which prompts a few more penalties from the away team.

There are a million possibilities.
That could also figure in, but I have to think the refs have something to do with it, even if the players do as well.

GoodKiwi
03-02-2009, 02:52 PM
See also: NBA

MerryJ99
03-02-2009, 02:54 PM
Do the home teams play better for the stat to be 11.5% more man advantages though? that seems to be a pretty big number. It is interesting though.

XParise9X
03-02-2009, 02:56 PM
Just to play devils advocate though, couldn't it be that teams don't usually play as clean of a game on the road and they DRAW more penalties? Just because the number is higher doensn't mean there isnt a reason for it. Also it ends up being fair since every team plays an equal number of home and away games

rumrokh
03-02-2009, 02:56 PM
Another vote for "there could be any reason."

How about the home faceoff advantage. There is a measurable, and sometimes rather large advantage to the home team. Go look at faceoff win percentage for home and road amongst the league's top faceoff men. That difference can account for a lot more puck possession time, which means the other team is more desperate to get it back.

Bobby Lou
03-02-2009, 02:58 PM
This of course could not have anything to do with home teams riding the momentum, playing a better game, and legitimately drawing more penalties then visiting teams. What a stupid study - it's like proving home ice advantage exists.

No, not at all.:sarcasm:

Reckless Abandon*
03-02-2009, 02:59 PM
Maybe its the opposing teams who get intimidated and rattled by fans that they play sloppy.

Row*
03-02-2009, 03:01 PM
There's no reason it should be 1:1, 11% seems acceptable and nothing to worry about. And then you could always argue about variables, such as playing away from home and infront of a hostile crowd could contribute to carelessness and more calls

MerryJ99
03-02-2009, 03:04 PM
I found some of this article interesting though, here is one excerpt

An experiment conducted by Paul Ward, a cognitive psychologist at Florida State University, seems to bear this out.

Ward attached EKGs to a group of soccer referees, players and coaches and asked them to call penalties. Half the test group watched the games with crowd noise, the other half with the sound muted.

Ward's research showed that those who had crowd noise as a cue called 21 per cent fewer fouls on the home team.



every team in the course of the year has as many home games as away so really it should even out, but it is an interesting topic for discussion.

MeHateHe
03-02-2009, 03:12 PM
Correlation =/ causation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

rye&ginger
03-02-2009, 03:16 PM
Correlation =/ causation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation


Exactly. Title of the story is folly BS to sell papers.

Other reasons need to be considered.

Rayne*
03-02-2009, 03:19 PM
This might provide fodder for the "OMG REFS GIVE HABS ALL THE BREAKS" crowd.

silkyjohnson50
03-02-2009, 03:21 PM
I'm actually taking a Sports Psychology class right now and this is something that we just got done talking about. And it's true, there have been many studies were officials were influenced by the crowd. There was this one study where they showed refs a game with the sound on, and told the refs to makes calls based on what they were watching. And they showed a 2nd tape of the same games without sound (crowd noise) and the refs called less penalties without the sound (crowd noise) on.

There are many other factors that do go into though.

See also: NBA

NBA has the biggest home advantage. The interesting tidbit, however, is that it doesn't apply to game 7's for some reason.

Blue Regime
03-02-2009, 03:21 PM
11% really isn't that much when you think about it. At least the home teams don't win every home game and lose every away game during the playoffs a.k.a. '08 Boston Celtics.

DaStars99
03-02-2009, 03:29 PM
not surprising

jwhitesj
03-02-2009, 03:34 PM
Interesting article by the Edmonton Journal. I'm very dissapointed that Steven Walkom dissmisses the evidence that there is a home team bias when officiating. I would much rather him admit that the evidence may be worth taking a bigger look at so he could evaluate it himself; then to just pass it off as a conspiracy theory. The point Walkom makes, in which he says "I think there is more conscious pressure on the players to play better and harder in front of their home crowd than what affects the referee." Playing harder doesn't mean you take less penalties, it just means you compete harder. Logically, that would mean you would draw more penalties by playing at a more up tempo pace, but you would also take more penalties because you are competing harder.

LeMAD
03-02-2009, 03:36 PM
Teams play better and with more intensity at home. So they have the puck more often, therefore the opposing team takes more penalities.

This would explain it a lot more then some ref bias.

Tailspin711
03-02-2009, 03:42 PM
11% really isn't that much when you think about it. At least the home teams don't win every home game and lose every away game during the playoffs a.k.a. '08 Boston Celtics.

Pretty sure the Celtics won game 4 in LA...They also won games 3 and 6 in Detroit against the Pistons

The word "Every" is a word that is tossed around a lot these days...

jwhitesj
03-02-2009, 03:46 PM
But they don't allways have the puck more. Detroit, San Jose, New Jersey and Boston control the puck more no matter what building they are playing in. Unless they are playing eachother. A team like Minnesota, Colorado, and The Islanders will control the puck less, no matter what building they are playing in. I think if the referees are concious of a subconcious bias toward the home, it might improve the quality of officiating and reduce the number of "ref's are horrible" threads on HF Boards. I don't think the study was done perfectly, so a deeper look is merrited, but it shouldn't be passed off as complete bull **** either.

SumOil
03-02-2009, 03:55 PM
Or maybe it's because teams generally play better at home which prompts a few more penalties from the away team.

There are a million possibilities.

completely with you here.......

cassius
03-02-2009, 03:57 PM
Just to play devils advocate though, couldn't it be that teams don't usually play as clean of a game on the road and they DRAW more penalties? Just because the number is higher doensn't mean there isnt a reason for it. Also it ends up being fair since every team plays an equal number of home and away games
I see wat u did thar

Trottier
03-02-2009, 04:00 PM
Or maybe it's because teams generally play better at home which prompts a few more penalties from the away team.

There are a million possibilities.

Exactly.

And it begs the question: if officials called more penalties in favor of visiting teams, would that be "interesting" or "proof" of anything?

Play the game, deal with the calls.

Just my opinion.

MentalPowerHouse
03-02-2009, 04:00 PM
It is interesting to see home team advantage in regards to penalties quantified.

Sure their is more than 1 factor here, as others have named, but I tend to think referee bias is still a major factor for the reasons the psychologist named in the article.

It is too bad the referee association is just writing this off, as professionals it is something they should be monitoring. Sure, it's impossible to eliminate the human factor but being able to overcome this home bias should be a characteristic of a good referee as I am sure some are better at it than others.

Stripes
03-02-2009, 04:58 PM
See also: NBA

Don't compare NHL officiating to NBA officiating. Basketball is an easy sport to fix because of the power of places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, combined with the fact that free throws are an easy way for officials to get involved, and some have. A hockey referee can call all the penalties he wants to, and it's never a guarantee to manipulate a result. The only way hockey games can be fixed is if players are involved, and the odds of that are extremely low considering how a lot more money can be made by fixing NBA games than NHL games due to the lack of interest in NHL in the USA.

This 11.5% is a meaningless stat. The study is pointless and whoever made the study knew that some media source would get a hold of it to point a finger at the officials to call them biased. It is so bloody ridiculous that it really isn't deserving of any attention at all.

Interesting article by the Edmonton Journal. I'm very dissapointed that Steven Walkom dissmisses the evidence that there is a home team bias when officiating. I would much rather him admit that the evidence may be worth taking a bigger look at so he could evaluate it himself; then to just pass it off as a conspiracy theory. The point Walkom makes, in which he says "I think there is more conscious pressure on the players to play better and harder in front of their home crowd than what affects the referee." Playing harder doesn't mean you take less penalties, it just means you compete harder. Logically, that would mean you would draw more penalties by playing at a more up tempo pace, but you would also take more penalties because you are competing harder.

Hockey is a sport where effort is respected more than anything. By "playing harder", Walkom means that players are putting more of an effort into their game, and given the NHL's crusade on obstruction fouls (IE: the ton of hooking penalties we see right now), players "playing harder" aren't taking those lazy penalties.

This is not worth a "look into". It just isn't. The suggestion of bias is suggesting that referees are going into games to intentionally penalize the visitors more than the home team.

The study also suggests that games are only fair when both teams are penalized equally. That is a load of crap. THAT is the biggest reason why this study is utterly pointless. When a referee is on the ice, he doesn't care how many penalties he calls against one team or the other, and nor should he.

The best lesson I ever learned as an official is that fair does not always mean equal, and equal does not always mean fair.

Hale The Villain
03-02-2009, 05:11 PM
Except for in Ottawa

Our referees hate us :(

Beyonder91
03-02-2009, 05:20 PM
take Montreal out of the study and it is even ;)

ean
03-02-2009, 05:37 PM
You guys really need a study to tell you this?

estevao
03-02-2009, 05:52 PM
I agree with a lot of the people that say that it's not that big of a deal.
Remember, this "11.5%" means that penalties are called at a rate of about 10 to 9 against the away team.

Not that horrible, that's often about 1 extra penalty per road game, and I think that you could probably chalk that 11.5% to having the last change and the inherent bad matchups that the last change brings for most of the game.

Battaglia
03-02-2009, 05:56 PM
11% really isn't that much when you think about it. At least the home teams don't win every home game and lose every away game during the playoffs a.k.a. '08 Boston Celtics.

*Up until the Detroit and Laker's series.

karnige
03-02-2009, 06:20 PM
Yeah, there are plenty of reasons for more penalties to be called for the home team than "referee bias".

Since home teams get the line matchups, you can exploit the weakness in the opponent's team.

If the home team sends out a speedy line against an opponent's slower one, then there's more likely to be hooking or tripping calls against the away team, yeah?

very smart I never even thought of that

RoyBoyCoy
03-02-2009, 06:25 PM
Home team gets last change which means more uneven match-up. These uneven macth-ups consist of less skilled players trying to keep up with the more skilled players. This causes more penalties for the away team. I bet that 11.5% come soon after the draw because I truly don't think that refs our biased.

rye&ginger
03-02-2009, 06:30 PM
This 11.5% is a meaningless stat. The study is pointless and whoever made the study knew that some media source would get a hold of it to point a finger at the officials to call them biased. It is so bloody ridiculous that it really isn't deserving of any attention at all.


The study is not pointless. The findings are the result of their method. Bias does not imply the refs are doing anything conciously, but that there may be factors at play that lead to fewer penalties for the home team. This might be a measurement of home team advantage.

I totally agree with your comment on fair and equal. They are not the same thing. I hate it when the 'even up' call is mentioned. Any team expecting an even up call is lazy and likely deserved the penalties they got.

theoilslick
03-02-2009, 06:44 PM
The study is not pointless. The findings are the result of their method. Bias does not imply the refs are doing anything conciously, but that there may be factors at play that lead to fewer penalties for the home team. This might be a measurement of home team advantage.



Which is why someone should have stated already that statistical bias /= personal bias.

People (including the media) misinterpret the study to be suggesting that Refs must deliberately call an extra penalty in favour of the home team because of the context, when it really may be all the factors listed above. Nevertheless there is nothing controversial with the study's numbers suggesting a statistical bias that favours home teams, though the magnitude of the bias is interesting just for the sake that someone has attempted to quantify it.

Cawz
03-02-2009, 06:56 PM
This is not worth a "look into". It just isn't. The suggestion of bias is suggesting that referees are going into games to intentionally penalize the visitors more than the home team.
No, the study is suggesting that the ref subconciously has a bias, as pointed out in the experiment with the crowd noise turned off.

The report should have went one step further and expanded on what types of calls are made more often at home. If more obstruction calls are made, maybe its due to the last line change. If more over-the-glass or too-many-men penalties are called, maybe its due to the visitor's unfamiliarity with the rink. If more roughing penalties are called, maybe thats due to the refs giving the home team a little more lee-way with the hits.

Its most likely a little bit of everything. Of that 11%, 4% is subconcious ref bias, 3% is last line change, 2% is the home crown giving the team an added boost, 1% is rink familiarity and 1% is due to me yelling at the television.

VHC
03-02-2009, 07:43 PM
11% is not disconcerting to me. Call it home field advantage.

MeHateHe
03-02-2009, 07:48 PM
Its most likely a little bit of everything. Of that 11%, 4% is subconcious ref bias, 3% is last line change, 2% is the home crown giving the team an added boost, 1% is rink familiarity and 1% is due to me yelling at the television.

The point is that you're guessing at all of that. That 11 % could just as easily be 100 % due to you yelling at the television.

The study is interesting but essentially meaningless, given that there is no good way to determine the why behind the numbers. It's guesswork.

I have no problem personally with the study, but that's mostly because I'm an information junkie. What I tend to get riled about is that people will use it to try to prove a point. The technical term, I believe, is "talking out of their *****."

I'll sing it again: correlation =/ causation.

Stripes
03-03-2009, 02:36 AM
The study is not pointless. The findings are the result of their method. Bias does not imply the refs are doing anything conciously, but that there may be factors at play that lead to fewer penalties for the home team. This might be a measurement of home team advantage.

The media won't call it a "subconscious bias" because that's not a story for them. A story for them is something that fans can come out of reading it thinking the referees are out to screw their team when they're on the road.

In the end, what is the point of the study? What can come of it in terms of a result?

Randall Graves*
03-03-2009, 02:39 AM
watch a ducks home game and tell me if the refs favor them...lol...

Hockify
03-03-2009, 04:17 AM
I think that line changes and not being able to match your on ice players to the opponent's as easily when you're the visiting team is probably the biggest reason for this. That isn't ref bias that's just a result of the rules of the game.

rye&ginger
03-03-2009, 04:06 PM
The media won't call it a "subconscious bias" because that's not a story for them. A story for them is something that fans can come out of reading it thinking the referees are out to screw their team when they're on the road.

In the end, what is the point of the study? What can come of it in terms of a result?

I think looking at what, if anything, helps the home team win more is valueable information. A team can adjust factors in their control, such as acoustics in the building, to help them in some way. That tiny advantage in sports is what the new swim suit at the Olympics was all about for example. Visiting teams can employ adjustments too, perhaps some sort of distraction training or simply knowing they have to be a bit smarter out there.

Sticks are redesigned all the time still, but likely result in fractional benefits in performance. Any point to that? To me, no because I cant shoot like Chara can.

Blue Regime
03-03-2009, 04:44 PM
Pretty sure the Celtics won game 4 in LA...They also won games 3 and 6 in Detroit against the Pistons

The word "Every" is a word that is tossed around a lot these days...

I know I used every loosely there, but still, their record in home games vs. away games was clearly the result of something more than skill or luck.

CASUAL KEV
03-03-2009, 04:45 PM
Not surprising at all. It seems apparent almost every game I watch

Abyss
03-03-2009, 04:59 PM
isn't that why it's called "home ice advantage"?

CASUAL KEV
03-03-2009, 05:02 PM
isn't that why it's called "home ice advantage"?

I thought it was because the fans pump up the players or something..not referee bias

Osprey
03-03-2009, 05:21 PM
That reporter ought to stick to reporting the news, rather than interpreting it. As others have mentioned, correlation does not imply causation. Everyone who knows the first thing about statistics (or is good at logic) knows that. It's possible that a referee bias exists and that it's the cause of the stat, but the study does not "reveal" that. A whole lot of other theories are possible, as well, the most likely of which is that teams play differently at home and on the road.

Buck Aki Berg
03-03-2009, 05:38 PM
Fascinating study - but I wonder if 11.5% is statistically significant, based on the sample size and the time frame (one-fifth of a season) .. it definitely opens the door for further research:

- Pre-lockout vs. post-lockout (when they cracked down on obstruction and really really meant it)
- Diving calls, home vs. away
- Regular season vs. playoffs
- Match penalties
- Unsportsmanlike (non-diving) vs. 10-minute misconduct, home vs. away
- Which team has the lead, and by how much

I could have a lot of fun with that data..

TheMadcapLaughs
03-03-2009, 05:44 PM
11% is not disconcerting to me. Call it home field advantage.

I completely agree, if it showed that one team was getting that 11% edge while it was even everywhere else then we would have a problem but since it is across the board I don't see the harm.

Locksy
03-04-2009, 01:45 AM
I think that the most interesting point is that it is not evenly distributed across all teams.

BadHammy*
03-04-2009, 01:46 AM
Referees have a home ice bias? What's next, a bloody riot at a British soccer game?

RichterLundqvist
03-04-2009, 09:17 AM
They needed a study to figure this out?

Buck Aki Berg
03-04-2009, 10:00 AM
They needed a study to figure this out?

Just saying it doesn't prove anything.



Mike Comrie is a cyborg. It's true because I said it. No need to check it out.

RichterLundqvist
03-04-2009, 11:06 AM
Just saying it doesn't prove anything.



Mike Comrie is a cyborg. It's true because I said it. No need to check it out.

I KNEW IT