SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Statistics show fewer penalties are called in NFL playoff games than in regular season games.

“You’re talking about the better teams, and the better teams don’t always have a lot of penalties,” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. But John said there’s more to it than that.

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“(The officials) don’t want to make a call that’s going to affect the game… The deeper you get in the playoffs, the fewer penalties they will call.” John said that might be an advantage for the Seahawks in Sunday’s NFC Championship game against the 49ers because of the way they play defense.

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“You can only hit the guy the first five yards,” John said. “As I watch (the Seahawks), they tend to go a little more than that. They tend to grab a little and hold a little and some of those things. And supposedly they have the theory that ‘that’s the way we play, that’s who we are, keep doing it, because they’re not going to call it every time. They’ll call two or three pass interference or defensive holding (penalties) in a game, but they’re not going to call 10 or 15. So you can do it twenty times and they’ll call two or three.'”

Madden said he expects more passing in both conference championship games Sunday than in last week’s bad weather playoff games. “Last week the run game was big,” Madden said. “If you’re going into the wind, some of those teams just had to shut it down going into the wind and run the ball and hope to get a first down.” (6:45)

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Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM. And catch John’s extra report at 9:15 am Mondays and Fridays on KCBS during the NFL season.