Better Know a Ref

Better Know a Ref: Mark Geiger

What can be said about Mark Geiger that hasn’t already been said?

I love my job so much that I quit my job!

Honestly. I didn’t start this article series for refs like Mark Geiger, no I started it for Sibiga, Penso, Unkel, Chapman… refs that don’t really get the spotlight. Before last year if I were able to identify a ref on sight it was likely Baldomero Toledo, Ricardo Salazar, or Mark Geiger. Geiger is perhaps the most famous ref in PRO, having gained a ton of international experience of late, the only PRO ref at World Cup Brazil in 2014, and CONCACAF ref of the year in that same year. I mean, he has coined the term “Geiger Show”… I could go on, but here’s a handy list from PRO of his accolades

FIFA panel – 2008-present
MLS Cup [fourth official] – 2008
FIFA U-20 World Cup – 2011
MLS Cup Playoffs
Olympic Games – 2012
FIFA Club World Cup – 2012
MLS Cup [referee] – 2014
FIFA World Cup – 2014
MLS Referee of the Year – 2011 and 2014
CONCACAF Referee of the Year – 2014
CONCACAF Gold Cup – 2013, 2015
Copa America – 2016


I won’t belabor the point that Geiger is well known for his “moments” aka The Geiger Show.  Ok, I will. Let’s be succinct though.

Getting charged by Jermaine Jones

Dr. Joe Machnik doesn’t rate him in Gold Cup and he got charged after the game by the whole Panamanian team

World Cup 2014 failings


On the popular internet search engine website Google dot com, “mark geiger bad call” returns 6.45M hits in 0.75 seconds if you really want to deep dive. Spare yourself would be my advice.

Hey here’s some more nice stuff about him. Huh. Former award winning math teacher… that checks out. But he quit in 2013 to go full time as a ref. Plenty of experience with over 200 games combined as center official and 4th, with most of that is as head referee.


Now, onto the STATS!


Let’s start with context. Why hadn’t a BKAR been written about Mark Geiger yet? Well for one, he didn’t referee a single game of ours last year. For two, I don’t just go handing these things out like candy, there’s rules to this sh*t!

How has he treated the Timbers in the past? He has overseen 9 games for us since entering the league in 2011, and one USOC game, in which the Timbers won 3, tied three, and lost 4. Not exactly stellar, clocking in at 1.2ppg with Geiger in the middle. Most famously is either the time he sent off Ricketts, or maybe the time he issued 8 cards in the final 30 minutes of play against RSL, including a red to Chara.

What about… shudder… Seattle? Since 2009, Mark Geiger has been involved in 20 matches with Seattle. They have 9 losses in that time, two ties, and 9 wins – a solid 1.45 ppg, but not quite playoff material. The last three have been losses for the Sounders to boot. He’s no stranger to Cascadia, even though he’s never done a Timbers v Sounders match, having logged 4 games between the Fishing Village and our Friendly Neighbors Up North.

Some notable achievements – on 4 separate occasions he has handed out 7 yellows in a game! He calls red cards at about the same rate as penalties, 0.27 red per game and 0.29 per game for pens… I’ll put this in the “about the same” category in the ongoing saga of “about the same” or “pens twice as much as reds” which still beguiles me. In MLS regular season and playoffs he has handed out a total of 420 yellow cards in 130 games since 2009.

A normal game for Mark Geiger is 30 fouls (wow that’s high), 2 yellows (that seems a little low considering the foul count), and no reds or pens (as to be expected).

Did I mention he’s been a referee since he was 13? No? That’s gotta be a little weird, right?


He’s got a big data (about 15 games per season on average) set so I expect the histograms to look nice –

Yeah that’s not bad, especially the foul chart. Although that is a lot of games with over 30 fouls called.

He stacks up against the PRO pool in the middle-ish, so nothing crazy there. I wonder why he gets such a bad rap?

Now let’s have a look at the super scientific yellow to foul ratio chart –

A little low but no crazy outlier.

Surely there are some wild statistics in his card distribution from last year right?

Well that’s sort of disappointing, his total card count is the 5th lowest in the league, and 3rd lowest among refs worth regular appointments. Ok, ok, surely his ratio’s are off the chart right? I mentioned the 8 cards in the final 30 mins, that must have been foreshadowing…

Well would you look at that, he seems perfectly average, not necessarily going card crazy in many matches.

Maybe we learned something after all. Maybe Mark Geiger is just a regular ‘ol ref, and we shouldn’t get on his back too much. Maybe he just seems controversial because of the sheer volume of games he’s gotten… ahhhhhhhhh HAHAAAHAHHAHAHAHaaaaaaaa. Had ya going there for a second. They don’t like Mark Geiger either… but at least he’s not Penso.

I’ll take that as a warning.


Be sure to check out the last BKAR, concerning relative newbie (but seemingly competent) Nima Saghafi.


To Top