Whether people admit it or not, referees can have an impact on games regardless of the sport. In football especially, this is the case. But on Sunday, the New England Patriots can only hope that it is not the case.
That is because Ed Hochuli is refereeing this Sunday’s Patriots game as they face the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game at 3:05 p.m. EST. In the past, the Pats have not had much success when he works their games.
Since 2010, the Patriots are 3-4 with Hochuli as a ref while the Broncos are 6-0 in his games since 2008, as The Boston Herald points out.
This will be the third game Hochuli calls for the Patriots this season. He called the team’s 27-26 win over the New York Giants on November 15 and their loss to the Miami Dolphins on January 3.
In those games, the Patriots were penalized seven times for an average of 68 yards per game.
During the Giants game, Hochuli had an offensive pass interference call on tight end Rob Gronkowski.
According to ESPN, Hochuli called 17.1 penalties per game during the 2015 NFL season — the fifth most in the league.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, his crew tends to call offensive pass interference more often. But when it comes to 15-yard penalties like roughing the passer and unsportsmanlike conduct, they call the second fewest in the game.
Pro Football Reference points out that home teams tend to win more than average with Hochuli refereeing and this past regular season, home teams were 11-5 in games that he officiated and 13-3 the year before that.
Luckily for the Patriots, there are other numbers favoring themselves. For example, the Broncos are 3-7 the last ten times they were three point underdogs, according to Odds Shark. And quarterback Tom Brady is 11-5 against Peyton Manning in his career.