Re: Home Field Advantage re: Penalties
There is a book out called Scorecasting that goes into home field advantage.
Here are a couple of points from the book..
"In the NFL, "Home teams receive fewer penalties than away teams -- about half a penalty less per game -- and are charged with fewer yards per penalty. Of course, this does not necessarily mean officials are biased. But when we looked at more crucial situations in the NFL ... we found that the penalty bias [increases]."
When instant replay came to the NFL, the home winning percentage declined from 58.5 percent (1985-98) to 56 percent (1999-2008). "Before instant replay, home teams enjoyed more than an 8 percent edge in turnovers ... When instant replay came along ... the turnover advantage was cut in half." Also, "the home team does not actually fumble or drop the ball less often than the away team ... they simply lose fewer fumbles than away teams. After instant replay was installed, however, the home team advantage of *losing* fewer fumbles miraculously disappeared, whereas the frequency of fumbles remained the same. ... In close games, where referees' decisions may *really* matter ... home teams enjoyed a healthy 12 percent advantage in recovering fumbles. After instant replay was installed, that advantage simply vanished."
Research shows that HFA is because of the way the games are called by the referees.