The Kansas City Chiefs have dominated the AFC West for half a decade now and finally this season it looked like the team had some competition with a stout division that was loading up. Over halfway through the season, the Chargers are the only other AFC West team with a winning record.
The Chargers and Chiefs squared off in an entertaining primetime game that kicked off the Amazon era for Thursday Night Football. Los Angeles ultimately fell short, but it did not come without controversy. There were very interesting decisions in that game, whether it be overruling interceptions or timely, strange, penalties, that overruled other Patrick Mahomes turnovers.
There is no denying that those calls had a direct impact on the game as the Chiefs scored every offensive touchdown in that game after should-have-been interceptions off Mahomes. Mahomes getting favorable treatment is nothing new as the Chiefs have benefited from calls in their favor for the last 2-3 years.
Chargers fans saw this same favoritism return in the Chiefs' Sunday Night Football matchup against the Tennessee Titans. On the most important play of the game, the refs called defensive pass interference against the Titans on a play where Travis Kelce ripped the defenders helmet off. This allowed the Chiefs to re-try the two-point conversion to tie the game and ultimately win in overtime.
This was not the only example of Chiefs favoritism that Chargers fans should be outraged about.
This was the biggest play of the game and of course, the call went in Kansas City's favor to allow them to eventually win the game (and remain one game ahead of the LA Chargers in the AFC West standings).
There were smaller no-call moments in this game as well that also showed the favoritism that referees often give the Chiefs. After an interception in the third quarter, Kelce was so irate that he chucked his helmet off his head while he was still on the field.
Look familiar? A week prior, D.J. Moore was flagged for taking his helmet off out of the endzone (when the rule specifically only applies on the field) and was flagged for 15 yards. This backed the Panthers' PAT attempt up, and of course, Carolina missed and eventually lost the game in overtime.
Correctly calling the penalty on Kelce could have had a big difference on this game. Instead of the Titans taking over at the 34 yard-line, the Titans would have taken over at the 19. Nothing is guaranteed in this league but they would have had a much better chance of scoring a touchdown from the 19 instead of settling for a field goal, which is what happened in the game.
Conquering the Chiefs in the AFC West is already an extremely hard thing to do because of how talented and well-coached they are. There is a reason why they get these calls. However, it is still painful to see them get different treatment from most of the league, especially if the LA Chargers wind up falling just short of the divisional crown.