You can add former NFL punter and sports personality Pat McAfee to the list of people who didn’t like the officiating on Championship Sunday.
The game that got the most scrutiny was the Kansas City Chiefs-Cincinnati Bengals AFC Championship that saw Patrick Mahomes & Co. head back to the Super Bowl after Harrison Butker kicked a 45-yard game-winner.
Whether it was a questionable pass interference call, redoing a third-down play entirely that might have forced the Chiefs to punt, or what might have been holding on the final Mahomes rush that led to a crucial unnecessary roughness penalty, referee Ronald Torbert and his crew from that game have caught loads of flak from experts and fans alike.
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McAfee said his piece on his “The Pat McAfee Show” on Monday morning.
“I do think we have a massive officiating issue. I think refs suck – not all refs. There are some refs that suck, and they shouldn’t be in playoff games. Why are they in playoff games, especially when there’s only two games and there’s going to be 15 million people watching? That’s a great question.”
McAfee believes that NFL refs being part time rather than full time is a part of the issue, suggesting they could be swayed financially.
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“Since they’re not completely committed to the NFL, there’s a chance that somebody can get a hold of them,” McAfee said. “Now, I think they get paid well, but what is well? What is the line? Especially with how much money is potentially being made off of these games.”
“So, make them full time, boom, we can eliminate that distraction of potentially getting swayed elsewhere,” McAfee added. “Like all politicians because they don’t get paid enough, so they’re easily swayed by Big Pharma, Big Gas, f—ing alcohol, tobacco, whatever, you can get named into it.”
McAfee wasn’t the only one voicing their take on the matter as ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined him on the show and brought his sourcing to the table.
“There is an issue with the officiating,” he said. “And when you speak to people around the league, they believed it’s as bad as it’s been in a long time, maybe ever. If we go back to the one game that I think of is the Seahawks-Rams game, final regular season game, where the officials missed multiple calls that potentially influenced the outcome of that game.
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“It shaped the way the playoffs came out. If they had made some other calls and the Rams had won, it would’ve gotten the Lions in. I can tell you this: the Rams were not happy, the Lions were not happy, other teams were not happy. And guess what? I think the league office themselves, if they were being honest, we’re not happy with those calls in that game.”
Schefter added that many teams began calling him after that report initially went out, saying he didn’t go far enough because bad calls have been made throughout the regular season.
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The NFL still has one more game left to officiate – the biggest game all season – and a close eye will be watching the striped shirts to see how the game is called.