The NFL has found no evidence of bias in Pete Morelli's officiating crew toward the Philadelphia Eagles, a league spokesperson confirmed to ESPN, a signal that they will be allowed to work Eagles games moving forward.
The Eagles were penalized 10 times for 126 yards in a win over Carolina on Oct. 12, while the Panthers were called for just one penalty, resulting in 1 yard lost. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first game in NFL history in which one team had at least 120 penalty yards and its opponent had fewer than 10 penalty yards.
The discrepancy led to criticism of Morelli and his crew and prompted one Eagles fan to start an online petition calling for Morelli to be banned from working future Eagles games, citing bias by his crew in the past four Eagles games those referees have officiated. The penalty disparity is 40-8 in favor of the opposition in the past four games Morelli's group has officiated.
The NFL Referees Association released a statement on Thursday denouncing "recent media reports alleging bias in NFL officiating." The NFLRA's statement didn't identify the reports that prompted the statement but acknowledged to ESPN that it was, in part, a response to commentary in Philadelphia related to the Panthers game.
"Claims like these demonstrate a fundamental lack of knowledge about NFL officiating," NFLRA executive director Scott Green said in the statement. "NFL officials are graded on every call made in every game. Missing a single one can hurt his or her ranking and may be the difference between working in the postseason or not."
Green said that "recent attempts to sensationalize statistics and create click-bait headlines lack important context" and "the information being pushed is completely misguided" when presented "without the proper perspective."
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said that the team would be sending clips to the league office for review at his day-after press conference. He had not heard back from the league as of Thursday, he said.