So why did the Kansas City Chiefs get a mulligan during Sunday’s NFL AFC Championship Game?
Referee Ron Torbert attempted to explain the bizarre turn of events during the Chiefs’ 23-30 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
While the Chiefs’ fans are looking forward to Super Bowl 57, the Bengals’ partial are crying foul.
Hold on, Torbert said, the call was made for a reason.
Referee explains the Chiefs' third down do-over in AFC Championship Game https://t.co/NuLaDsG83p
— KSN News Wichita (@KSNNews) January 30, 2023
Field judge notices game-clock issues
Here was the situation:
With the score tied at 20-20 in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs faced a third-and-9 situation and appeared to fail to convert the line to gain.
Except there was quarterback Patrick Mahomes and company lining up for another attempt.
Most in attendance at Arrowhead Stadium – and, quite frankly, a majority of the viewing audience – were left a bit perplexed.
While the television announcers fumbled the explanation of events, Torbet tried to explain to the procedure during a post-game press conference, as reported by CBS Sports.
Before Mahomes initiated the play, the field judge noticed an issue with the play clock following an incomplete pass and attempted to halt the action. But with the crowd’s decibels rising, none of the players heard the call for a stoppage, so the play continued.
It just wouldn’t have counted.
But at the time, few knew it because of how late the call came.
So, confusion reigned as Mahomes and company lined up for a second chance at the third-down play.
Congratulations to Ron Torbert on becoming the 1st referee to ever win AFC Championship Game MVP pic.twitter.com/hPogIVuV0s
— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) January 30, 2023
Torbert details call’s tardiness
That effort also failed to achieve a first down, but the Chiefs were bailed out when cornerback Eli Apple was flagged for holding.
Torbert explained the tardiness of the whistle and why the Chiefs seemed to get a do-over, even though they didn’t.
“On the previous play, there was an incomplete pass,” Torbert said. “We spotted the ball, but the line judge came in and re-spotted the ball because the spot was off. We reset the play clock and the game clock started running. It should not have started running because there was an incomplete pass on the previous play.
“The field judge noticed that the game clock was running. He was coming in to shut the play down so that we could get the clock fixed but nobody heard him, and the play was run. After the play was over, he came in and we discussed that he was trying to shut the play down before the ball had been snapped. So, we reset the game clock back to where it was before that snap and replayed third down.”
The Chiefs eventually secured a chance to claim a Lombardi Trophy on Harrison Butker’s final-minute, game-winning field goal, leaving the Bengals asking for a mulligan.