I've never heard of a deterrent factor in officiating, but NFL teams are apparently afraid to commit penalties when Peter Morelli's crew is around (wink, wink). Morelli & Co. called only six penalties during the Giants-Cowboys game tonight, dropping his crew's average to a league-low 8.3 penalties per game this season. Morelli has called 50 penalties in six games, less than half the six-game total of 2006 flag leader Mike Carey (105, 17.5 per game). I can just hear Carey telling his grandkids that he averaged 17.5 penalties per game over a six-game stretch (the league average is 13.8 this season). These things tend to even out some over the course of a season. There were a little more than 17 penalties per game across the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Additional notes and league-wide officiating chart below.
Other officiating notes through Week 7: Ron Winter is the only referee still undefeated in replay challenges. He is 5-0 overall, including 4-0 in coaches' challenges. Bill Carollo is next with only one reversal in nine challenges. ... No NFL coach has won more than one challenge in a game this season. ... Coaches have a .405 success rate in replay challenges, with one-fourth of all successful challenges coming against Walt Anderson and Gene Steratore (each man has been reversed four times in five coaches' challenges). ... The coach reversal rate was .32 last season. It has been between .28 and .36 since 1999. So it's higher so far this season. The booth reversal rate has been between .20 and .34 during the same period.
NOTE: I updated this chart Tuesday morning when, upon double-checking numbers, I discovered that I had left off Seattle's failed replay challenge from the Rams game. This could only happen with a Seattle game because my method of charting requires me to input Seattle games twice, first in a separate Seattle file and then in the league-wide file (I could streamline this but have not gotten around to it). Therefore, for that Seahawks-Rams game only, I had left off the challenge and also two declined penalties (which pushed Ed Hochuli's average to 16.0 called per game).
NOTE 2: Officiating information culled from official NFL gamebooks. In some cases the gamebooks do not include all declined penalties. This will affect the totals slightly.