Three games in the national spotlight in one day always means there is more scrutiny on the NFL ref assignments and their performances. Let’s take a closer look at which referees and their crews have been assigned to which NFL Thanksgiving games and what we can expect from each of those crews based on what we have seen so far this season.
NFL Referee Assignments for Week 12 | Thanksgiving Games
The referees who have been assigned to which games for Thanksgiving are listed below. If you want to know which officials from the NFL’s officiating roster have been assigned to each crew, check out our comprehensive list of 2022 crew assignments.
Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions | 12:30 p.m. ET
Things could get off to somewhat of a messy start in terms of flags and penalties in the first game of the Thanksgiving slate. No crew has more penalties (15) per game than Clete Blakeman’s crew, with only one crew having thrown more flags per game (17.1). They have been reasonably balanced in terms of penalties on home and road teams. They average 7.33 penalties per game on home teams and 7.67 penalties per game on road teams.
Of their 135 total penalties, just over a third (46) are for offensive holding or false start penalties. Their 2.78 offensive holding penalties per game are tied for the second most in the league.
However, in terms of false starts, they rank closer to the middle of the pack, with 2.33 penalties per game. Another place that this crew has been hard on the offense is with illegal formations, throwing more than double the flags for that penalty than any other crew.
Defensive holding and defensive pass interference penalties are another pair to watch with Blakeman’s crew in this game. Their 1.11 defensive holding penalties per game are tied for third in the league. Equally, their one defensive pass interference penalty per game is also tied for the third most.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys | 4:30 p.m. ET
Of the three crews taking charge of Thanksgiving games, Scott Novak’s group has the fewest penalties (12.2) and flags (13.8) per game on average. Much like Blakeman’s crew, they are reasonably balanced in terms of home (6.0) and road (6.2) penalties this season.
Intriguingly, Novak’s crew is tied for the second most delay-of-game penalties per game on average (1.0). They also have the fifth-most false start penalties. However, when it comes to the more judgment-type call of offensive holding, they are in the bottom half of the crews, averaging 2.1 per game.
On the defensive side of the ball, they average two penalties per game for either defensive holding or defensive pass interference. Compared to other crews, Novak’s is one of the more balanced in terms of offensive and defensive penalties.
New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings | 8:20 p.m. ET
The final game of our Thanksgiving triple-header could be a somewhat stop-start affair. Alex Kemp’s crew is one of four groups to average over 13 penalties per game.
Meanwhile, their 17.78 flags per game are the most in the NFL, so expect to potentially see plenty of yellow on the field to round out the day’s football action. This crew is completely balanced in terms of their home-road split, averaging 6.56 penalties per game on both.
There are two penalties that really stand out as ones that Kemp’s crew appears to focus on. Those are defensive offsides, of which they average 1.33 penalties per game, and unnecessary roughness, 1.22 per game.
They have the most penalties per game for both of those penalties of any crew so far this year. When it comes to defensive offsides, they average nearly twice as many penalties per game as the next-highest crew.