Super Bowl Head Ref Known For Lots Of Flags, History with Chiefs


Carl Cheffers was named the head Super Bowl official for the second time in three years, and traditionally his crew is known for throwing a lot of flags. Actually, the most flags of any unit. The last Bowl he reffed also featured the Chiefs as they faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

According to, which tracks every penalty, Cheffers’ crew topped the NFL with 214 penalties in 17 games, averaging 12.6 per game. Although not all members of his crew will accompany him to the Super Bowl, with only side judge Eugene Hall joining, Cheffers will be leading the proceedings.

This reflects a perception among his peers that they should err on the side of caution and throw a flag, even if it means missing a call. Carl Cheffers seems to be taking this advice to heart, as his crew led the league in penalties in 2022, was the leader in 2021, and came in second in 2020.

Cheffers Has Been Here Before

Cheffers is serving as the head referee in the Super Bowl for the second time in three seasons, a feat that has not been accomplished in over three decades, according to Football Zebras, an online publication regarding professional football refs. This is due to the rule that prohibits referees from receiving back-to-back assignments.

The Cheffers crew, who had the most penalties this season, is only part of the group assigned to the Super Bowl between the Chiefs and the Eagles in Glendale, Arizona.

Cheffers And The ChiefsSuper Bowl Head Ref Known For Lots Of Flags, History with Chiefs

Cheffers has seemingly called some big Chiefs games in recent memory and could be described as flag happy.

When Cheffers was assigned to the Chiefs vs. Buccaneers Super Bowl in Tampa Bay just two years ago, the Chiefs broke a Super Bowl record with eight first-half penalties, totaling 95 yards.

This past December, the Chiefs were penalized 10 times for a season-high 102 yards by a crew led by referee Carl Cheffers in Houston. Two defensive players were so confused by some of the calls that they asked for clarification from anyone available. This is not meant as a boast, but rather shows their level of confusion and willingness to find answers.

In October, Cheffers made a controversial call against Chris Jones for roughing the passer, negating a sack-fumble during the game. The call came as a surprise and elicited a heated response from Coach Andy Reid, who showed his strongest emotions in a decade on the sideline.

Super Bowl Referee Selection

Super Bowl referees are selected from the best of the best. All officials are graded and placed into one of five tiers, with only those in the top tier being eligible for the biggest game of the year and other qualifications. According to Football Zebras,  the selection process is not completely clear to all officials, and many are unaware of how they were chosen (or not chosen).

Do what you will with this information, but it feels like we’re in for some flag-throwing on Super Bowl Sunday.


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