Refs Assigned for NFL Thanksgiving Games

Three games in the national spotlight in one day always means more scrutiny is needed on NFL reflection assignments and their performance. Let’s take a closer look at which referees and their crews have been assigned to which NFL Thanksgiving games, and what to expect from each of these crews based on what we’ve seen so far this season.

Week 12 NFL Officiating Appointments | Thanksgiving games

Below are the umpires assigned to which Thanksgiving games. If you want to know which officials on the NFL’s officiating roster are assigned to each crew, check out the full list of 2022 crew assignments.

Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions | 12:30 p.m. ET
Clete Blakeman

In the first game of the Thanksgiving slate, things can get off to a rather messy start with flags and penalties. No team has more penalties per game (15) than Clete Blakeman’s crew, and only one crew has thrown more flags per game (17.1). They are reasonably balanced in terms of penalties for home and away teams. They average 7.33 penalties per game for home teams and 7.67 penalties per game for road teams.

Of their 135 total penalties, just over a third (46) were for offensive holding or false start penalties. Their 2.78 offensive penalties per game are second in the league.

MORE: Thanksgiving schedule

However, they are closer to the middle of the pack in false starts with 2.33 penalties per game. Another area where this crew was tough on crime was illegal lineups, throwing twice as many penalty flags as any other crew.

Another pair of defenses to watch with Blakeman’s crew in this game is pass blocking and defensive pass interference. Their 1.11 defensive penalties per game are tied for third in the league. Additionally, they also have the third-most defensive pass interception penalties per game.

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys | 4:30 ET
Scott Novak

Of the three crews leading Thanksgiving games, Scott Novak’s crew averaged the fewest penalties (12.2) and flags (13.8) per game. Like Blakeman’s crew, they’ve been reasonably balanced in terms of penalties at home (6.0) and on the road (6.2) this season.

Ironically, Novak’s crew ranks second in average late penalties per game (1.0). They also have the fifth-most false start penalties. However, they are in the bottom half of teams when it comes to more offensive possession decisions, averaging 2.1 per game.

On the defensive side of the ball, they average two penalties per game for defensive holding or defensive pass interference. Compared to other crews, Novak’s team is one of the more balanced teams in terms of offensive and defensive penalties.

New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings | 8:20 p.m. ET
Alex Kemp

The final game of our Thanksgiving triple-header can be a bit of a stop-start affair. Alex Kemp’s side are one of four teams to average more than 13 penalties per game.

Plus, their 17.78 flags per game are the most in the NFL, so expect to see plenty of yellow on the field to end the day’s football action. This crew is completely balanced in terms of road splits at home, with both averaging 6.56 penalties per game.

There are two punishments that Kemp’s crew will focus on. That’s defensive offsides, including an average of 1.33 penalties per game, and unnecessary fouls, 1.22 per game.

They also have the most penalties per game of any crew so far this year. When it comes to defensive offsides, they average twice as many penalties per game as the next highest crew.


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