Great news, Chiefs fans. Shawn Hochuli will be the referee for the Kansas City vs. Buffalo Bills AFC Divisional-Round game.
Hochuli has officiated 10 Kansas City games in the Patrick Mahomes era, with the Chiefs losing 8 of those contests. But in the playoffs, KC is 2-0 with Hochuli as the referee.
This season, Hochuli has been responsible for officiating two Chiefs games, both of which resulted in victories against New England and Denver.
While this may seem like good news for the AFC’s third seed, it’s certainly not the case for Buffalo.
The Bills have been penalized 40 times for 347 yards in the last four games that Hochuli has officiated, including their overtime loss to the Philadelphia Eagles this season.
In that particular game, Hochuli called eleven penalties against Buffalo – one more than he did in two games against New England. The Bills have accumulated the sixth-highest number of penalty yards this year under crews led by Hochuli.
„Hochuli is known for deciding a game with penalties,“ wrote Chris Owen for WYRK Radio. „He was also the lead official for the Bills‘ game in Philadelphia, where the team missed an obvious horse-collar tackle against Josh Allen, which likely would have led to a touchdown in the red zone.“
These statistics do not support the ongoing assumption that Kansas City receives the most favorable calls. In those two games with Hochuli officiating, the Chiefs only had nine penalties for 99 yards.
Back in October, Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star noted about two calls in the fourth quarter – pass interference against L’Jarius Sneed and no flag for removing his helmet – that fans believe were „in favor of the Chiefs.“
He says KC is not receiving special treatment, as Dean Blandino, the former referee who became a rules analyst for Fox Sports, has said. „I know that’s a popular narrative from fans saying they’re a successful team; they get the calls, and it tends to even out over time,“ Blandino said in an interview on The Drive, a sports radio station in Kansas City (KCSP 610 AM).