The Cleveland Browns are busy gearing up for their first playoff game this weekend. They're set to take on the upstart Houston Texans, who've turned their fortunes around in a hurry thanks to drafting young playmakers on both offense and defense.
Fans on both sides hope this game will be solely decided by the players on the field, but that's up to the officiating crew to ensure that happens.
Fans are curious as to who will be reffing this all-important game, and we now have that info.
Browns vs. Texans Officiating Crew for Playoff Game
On Monday, the NFL announced the referees for each first-round matchup. Clay Martin has been selected to lead the officiating crew for Browns vs. Texans.
Martin is a nine-year veteran who has worked the last six seasons as a referee. He's worked a playoff game in each of the past three years, and also logged another postseason appearance as an umpire during the 2016 campaign.
The selection of Martin as lead official on Sunday could be very beneficial for the Browns. During the 2023 season, Martin's crew called 56.82% of its penalties against the home team, per Pro-Football-Reference. That figure is notable considering the league average this past year was only 49.08%.
Even better news for Cleveland, which will be on the road, is home teams only won 43.75% of the time during the 2023 season when Martin was reffing. That's also below the league average of 55.51%.
Now, this doesn't guarantee anything for the Browns. Martin will surely look to call as fair of a game as possible on Saturday since it is his job. The NFL will also finalize his crew in the coming days, so it's not likely he has the same people who contributed to that road favoritism working alongside him.
But regardless, the numbers show a stricter watching of home teams for any infractions while Martin is working, which could lead to flags that benefit Cleveland during this matchup.
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