By: Kevin Gray
Normally when your favorite NFL team wins a game you would be happy with the outcome, especially when that game gives that team the best record in the conference. Unfortunately for one Philadelphia Eagles fan, Will Philbrick of Little Rock, Arkansas, that was not the case. The game left him angry because despite his favorite team winning, one man was ruining his fun, NFL veteran referee Pete Morelli.
Pete Morelli was the head ref for Thursday (October 12) night's showdown between the first place Eagles and the first place Carolina Panthers. The Eagles were able to pull out a 28-23 victory despite a record disparity in penalty yards. The Eagles were penalized 10 times for 126 yards, and the Panthers just once for one yard. It was the first time in NFL history one team was assessed 120 or more penalty yards and its opponent was assessed fewer than 10 penalty yards.
The worse part of the story is that Morelli appears to have a track record for over penalizing the Eagles. Last year when Morelli worked the Eagles-Lions game in Detroit, the Eagles were penalized 14 times for 111 yards and the Lions twice for 18 yards. In fact, over the last four Eagles games that Morelli has worked, the Eagles have been flagged 40 times for 396 yards and their opponents just eight times for 74 yards.
This perceived injustice has led to Will Philbrick starting an online petition to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell demanding Morelli be banned from reffing any future Eagles games. So far, the petition has gained over 43,000 signatures, so Philbrick is not alone in seeing Morelli's bias.
"Preventing Morelli from refereeing Eagles games will result in a more trustworthy and honest NFL. This will benefit the entire league and keep all claims of conspiracy to a normal level," the petition states.
Morelli, 65, is in his 21st season with the NFL and his 15th as a referee.