'Embarrassing' Refs Blasted by NFL Twitter During Bengals vs. Chiefs AFC Title Game

Doric SamJanuary 30, 2023

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 29: Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals (R) talks with referee Ronald Torbert #62 and line judge Jeff Seeman #45 (L) during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on January 29, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The officiating in the NFL has been one of the top storylines of the 2022 season for the inconsistency throughout the year. After Sunday's AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals, the referees were once again the topic of conversation for a slew of questionable calls.

The Bengals were on the wrong end of most of those calls and went on to suffer a 23-20 loss at Arrowhead Stadium. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker drilled the game-winning 45-yard field goal with three seconds left on the clock after Cincinnati defensive end Joseph Ossai was called for unnecessary roughness after a late hit on Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

There were other instances during the game that went against the Bengals, such as when the Chiefs were awarded an extra down and when the referees missed a block in the back on a late punt return.

Each mistake drew the ire of NFL Twitter, with many voicing their displeasure over the subpar officiating in Sunday's game:

Jeff Howe @jeffphowe

The officiating in this league is embarrassing.

Ja'MarrChase @Real10jayy__

3 3rd and 9 ?

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

The Chiefs deserved to win that game.<br><br>But the officiating in that one was absolutely atrocious. Wrecked a great game. It's time for the NFL implement the SkyJudge, and deploy it aggressively, which is what a great majority of coaches want. You have the technology, guys. Use it.

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanHoops

This is worse than college hoops officiating.

Taylor Twellman @TaylorTwellman

Can someone explain What The Hell is going on with the officiating in the <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>?! <br><br>Suspect.

Rick Stroud @NFLSTROUD

Regardless of the outcomes today, officiating in the NFL isn't what a league with this many resources should ever settle for. Not a good day for the men in stripes.

Dov Kleiman @NFL_DovKleiman

The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Chiefs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Chiefs</a> got two 3rd downs, got stopped twice, and refs still called another penalty to take it away.<br><br>The league must really hates Cincy but come on, you're rigging NFL games now in front of everyone?

Ted Nguyen @FB_FilmAnalysis

Wow that extra third down was nuts. And the audacity to call a penalty.

David Aldridge @davidaldridgedc

Oh, man. Extra third down and a hold on third down. Bengals Nation is...man.

Mike Greenberg @Espngreeny

The officiating in this game was unimaginably terrible. And very one sided. But that was an obvious call. And it ended the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bengals?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bengals</a> season. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AFCChampionshipGame?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AFCChampionshipGame</a>

Adam Schein @AdamSchein

The officiating was brutal but that call was obvious. What a gut punch. What an awful was to lose.

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

You can't call the late hit on Mahomes after you ignored the late hit on Burrow a few mins earlier. Those refs were horrible. They weren't even fishy-bad more completely-incompetent-bad. Great work <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>.

Doug Kyed @DougKyed

Has to be among the worst officiated games of all time?<br><br>Refs botched a play so badly that the Chiefs got a do-over.

Will Brinson @WillBrinson

How do they miss that block in the back after all the flags they've thrown

timthetatman👑 @timthetatman

the refs for the bengals chiefs game need to be investigated <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>

lindsey ok @lindseyyok

The Chiefs deserved to win because their defense was lights out but the officiating was horrible and it seemed everything went their way. Both things can be true.

Stephen Holder @HolderStephen

Ossai's penalty was deserved AND the officiating overall was garbage. Both things can be true. <a href="https://t.co/9gv3ytB3eA">https://t.co/9gv3ytB3eA</a>

Robert Griffin III @RGIII

The Refs have been bad. But that was a CLEAR LATE HIT.

Emmanuel Acho @EmmanuelAcho

Im not saying the refs got that late hit call wrong, but the refs are supposed to call the game, not decide the game. <br><br>The refs have been discussed far too much for a Championship game.

While the referees didn't cost the Bengals the game, they played a bigger part in their loss than officials ever should. The NFL can't enjoy these occurrences when the officiating is criticized for its impact on a high-profile game.

The league will surely need to address these issues this offseason, and it will have to hope that Super Bowl LVII between the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles isn't mired by controversial calls.