The Carl Cheffers Effect (on KC)
Super Bowl referee has an interesting history with the Chiefs
The AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs have a love/hate relationship with Carl Cheffers, who will referee their Super Bowl game Sunday against the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Start with the fact that in his 15-year career, Cheffers has worked 23 Kansas City games – and the Chiefs have won 16 of them. That’s a winning percentage of almost 70. That’s the love part.
Now comes the hate part. Two of the KC losses came in the only two Chiefs’ playoff games Cheffers has worked – an AFC semifinal against Pittsburgh in 2016 and the Super Bowl to close the 2020 season against Tampa Bay.
Cheffers has refereed 12 playoff games in his career and only once has he assessed 100 yards in penalties against a team. That was Kansas City in the Super Bowl – 11 penalties for 120 yards, KC’s worst penalty game of the season. Cheffers worked three Kansas City games in 2020 and assessed 10-plus penalties against the Chiefs in all three of them. Kansas City had only two 10-penalty games in the other 17 games the Chiefs played that season.
The last time the Chiefs saw Cheffers in 2022 – Week 15 against Houston — he slapped them with 11 penalties for 90 yards. Kansas City also drew Cheffers in Week 5 against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Chiefs won, 30-29, but that game featured a controversial sack/fumble recovery of quarterback Derek Carr by KC defensive tackle Chris Jones that was nullified by a roughing-the-passer call on Jones.
The Eagles also have had their moments with Cheffers. They are 6-8 in the 14 games of theirs he has worked, including a 2018 NFC semifinal playoff loss to New Orleans. But the last time the Eagles saw Cheffers was the 2022 season finale against New York, a 22-16 victory over the Giants. Philadelphia was only assessed four penalties for 30 yards in that one.
The NFL has 17 officiating crews and Cheffers’ was the only one to assess 200-plus penalties this season — the ninth consecutive season a Cheffers crew has walked off 200-plus penalties. Cheffers assessed 204 penalties for 1,800 yards in the 16 games his crew worked. That was 70 more penalties for 835 more yards than the NFL’s low crew (Bill Vinovich) this season. The Vinovich crew assessed 134 penalties for 965 yards. The Cheffers crew assessed 115 penalties for 1,048 yards against road teams alone this season.
Cheffers will head up “all star” officiating crew for the Super Bowl, which will include only one other member of his 2022 crew. But we saw how well “all star” crews worked in the conference championship games this month.
As a Chiefs fan, I am legitimately concerned about Cheffers in this game. There were multiple P.I. calls in SB LV that were highly debatable and I can see that same scenario playing out in this SB.