The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 on Sunday evening to win the AFC Conference Championship.
In the process, Kansas City earned a slot in this year’s Super Bowl where they will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles for the most important title in all of American sports.
Unfortunately, the Chiefs’ win did not come without controversy. As the game was occurring, many felt as though they were the beneficiaries of some peculiar calls by the referees.
After the outing concluded and everyone had a chance to review the video, it became clear that the Bengals were pretty blatantly cheated by the refs on multiple occasions.
Arguably the most egregious example occurred during a 29-yard punt return by Skyy Moore when a clear block in the back took place.
Should there have been a block in the back called on this return?pic.twitter.com/LuRYwr0TtK
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 30, 2023
If that sequence had been called properly, a 10-yard penalty from the spot of the foul would’ve been called. Then Kansas City would have started their final possession from right around their 20 and not midfield.
It wasn’t just that play, though. On that now-infamous 3rd-and-4 at the Bengals’ 47 with 17 seconds left where Patrick Mahomes drew a penalty for a late hit by Joseph Ossai, a very clear hold took place between Trey Smith and BJ Hill.
— Pierre Noujaim (@TheNoujFOX9) January 30, 2023
Hold or not? pic.twitter.com/XdIOWv2tVJ
— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) January 30, 2023
If the refs had called that properly, it would have offset Ossai’s late hit out of bounds and forced Kansas City to replay third down outside of field goal range.
And those are just the late-game screwups.
Obviously bad calls happen on both sides in any sporting event. That is the nature of the beast. But to have this many favor one side, and then to have that side win and participate in the Super Bowl, is pretty egregious.
Brittany Mahomes has been out there mocking Joe Burrow and the Bengals for the last 12 hours.
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 29, 2023
Maybe she and other Chiefs fans would be better off reviewing the footage and understanding how lucky they were to earn that win over the Bengals.
Obviously it is possible that the referees will be as generous to them in the Super Bowl against the Eagles as they were in this Cincinnati game, but also maybe they won’t be.
If they aren’t, the Chiefs will have a much harder time winning against Philly than they did against the Bengals.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.