Carl Cheffers will be officiating the potential game of the year this afternoon, when the Cincinnati Bengals come to Orchard Park, NY to play the Buffalo Bills for the right to play in next weekend’s AFC championship game.
I like looking into trends from referees throughout the season. Cheffers is in the midst of his 23rd season, so he’s no stranger to moments like this. I took a look at his track record, and found some eye-catching trends.
- Cheffers has led the NFL in penalties per game in each of the last two seasons
- During those two seasons, Cheffers has favored the home team, penalitizing them 43% of the time compared to 57% to the away team
- Since 2016, home teams are winning at a rate of 61% in games officiated by Cheffers
- Home teams have a 10-6 record with Cheffers in 2022-23
- According to Evan Abrams of The Action Network, the under has hit by an average of 13.1 points, and boasts a whopping 10-1 in playoff games called by Cheffers since 2010
- Josh Allen and Sean McDermott’s Bills are 6-1 in games called by Cheffers
- The Bengals, over that same five years, are 1-3
- Buffalo is 4-3 against the spread in those seven games
- Cheffers worked the Bills’ divisional-round, 17-3 win over the Baltimore Ravens in 2020
- Cheffers has worked 17 playoff games and two Super Bowls
- The Bengals average 5.2 penalties per game, ranking 9th-fewest in the league
- The Bills average 5.5 per game, 19th-fewest in the league
The referees should never dictate the outcome of any game. Yet, every season, it seems every big game has issues with the officials. We can only hope that the headline following this game is how great of a show two of the best teams in the NFL produced for us, and not how a bad call changed the outcome of the game.