The Controversial Aftermath of the Chiefs-Bills Game
After the Week 14 loss to the Buffalo Bills, both quarterback Patrick Mahomes II and head coach Andy Reid took very public shots at the referees for the offside penalty that negated a Kansas City Chiefs go-ahead touchdown. Video of Mahomes and Bills counterpart Josh Allen shaking hands only heightened the situation, as the Chiefs QB labeled the Kadarius Toney flag the “wildest f****** call I’ve ever seen” (footage courtesy of WROC-TV’s Thad Brown). “Offensive offsides in that moment,” Mahomes added incredulously as Allen patted his chest in silence.
The Fallout from the Postgame Comments
Apparently, that viral embrace — plus the two postgame press conferences from Reid and Mahomes — were enough to get the NFL’s attention. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport stated the following on December 11: “Chiefs coach Andy Reid called the officiating, ‘A bit embarrassing.’ QB Patrick Mahomes said of the refs, ‘Every week, we’re talking about something.’ There is a long-standing policy against questioning the integrity of the refs. These will be reviewed, sources say.”
Potential Penalties for Mahomes & Reid
The league has had a pleasant relationship with Coach Reid, Mahomes, and the Chiefs organization for some time. After all, the franchise brings in massive ratings and exciting moments as they compete for Super Bowls.
Although there has been public outcry against the NFL referees in the past, it’s typically from the fans of Chiefs Kingdom, not the players and coaches. That’s the key difference that could lead to disciplinary action — which would typically occur in the form of a fine.
Consequences for Criticizing Officiating
“The last time I could find a player (or coach) fined for the criticism of officials was [Pittsburgh] Steelers WR Diontae Johnson in November,” informed Arrowhead Pride’s Pete Sweeney after the news. He noted that Johnson’s comments “led to a $25k fine.”
A Potential Positive Outcome
While Mahomes and Reid can obviously afford $25,000 — or a much greater fine — it’s the optics of the situation that interest most. Would the NFL really penalize or “make an example out of” the reigning MVP and face of the league who is also a Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee? How about the beloved Big Red? — A future Hall of Fame coach who seems to grow more popular every day.
A Call for Change in Officiating
On the flip side, Mahomes and Reid speaking out against the 2023 officiating could be positive. Although the Toney penalty was proven accurate on social media, many decisions have been botched this season. Two of the most prominent people in football drawing attention to that could spark change.
The Evaluation Process of NFL Officials
Ahead of the Week 14 games on December 9, ESPN insider Adam Schefter published a story on the officiating crew that missed the Marquez Valdes-Scantling defensive pass interference call for the Chiefs against the Green Bay Packers. That team of referees moved on to MetLife Stadium this weekend, staying out of the headlines as the New York Jets beat the Houston Texans by a blowout scoreline of 30-6.
Having said that, Schefter noted that this crew was under “increased scrutiny” heading into Week 14. “Officials are evaluated on every play of every game,” he explained. “League officiating staff analyze the performance of every official, both for the calls that are made and those that are not.”
As the fallout from the Week 14 game between the Chiefs and Bills continues, the NFL may now have to decide the appropriate actions to take regarding Mahomes and Reid. While a fine may be in store, it’s possible that the situation could lead to an overall call for change in the officiating process within the league. Only time will tell how this controversy unfolds.