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Last season analysts projected sports bettors could place upwards of $1 billion in wagers at legal online and online retail sportsbooks for Super Bowl LVI. This season the American Gaming Association estimates that $16 billion will be wagered legally, illegally and in squares and pools. So whether you’re a seasoned handicapper or just a fanatic betting on your favorite team or how many catches the player whose jersey you are wearing will have, you pretty much know who you are betting on at this point.
But what if I told you there is a third team you can bet on?
Yes, I’m talking about the team wearing the black and white, also known as the officiating crew or the “refs.”
Let me introduce to you these significant seven teammates who will be calling the biggest game of their life this Sunday. We’ll also include a breakdown below of how each official did this season while officiating games for both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. We will use “ATS” to refer to “Against The Spread” records, “SU” to refer to straight up win/loss records and “O/U” to refer to records on the over/under respectively. First however, let’s take a look at some of the available bets/odds on the board that directly involve this officiating crew:
Officiating Prop Bets/Odds For Super Bowl LVII:
"Accepted Penalties Committed by Eagles" - Over 5.5 (+110) / Under 5.5 (-130)
"Accepted Penalties Committed by Chiefs" - Over 4.5 (-125) / Under 4.5 (-105)
"Total Official Penalties In The Game" - Over 10.5 (+110) / Under 10.5 (-135)
"Total Accepted Penalty Yards" - Over 79.5 (-145) / Under 79.5 (+110)
Now let's meet Super Bowl LVII's officiating crew:
Referee Carl Cheffers
3rd Super Bowl
17 total postseason games refereed (5 wild card/ 7 divisional/ 3 Conference Championship/ 2 Super Bowls)
The Role For Head Referee Carl Cheffers (#51): The referee stands behind the offense, looking over to the quarterback's throwing side. The referee is responsible for watching the quarterback on passing plays and the running back on running plays, as well as looking for roughing the passer penalties or whether a quarterback “fumbles a pass.” The referee also decides the spot of the ball, when the play clock and game clock should stop and start (the raise the roof motion), and is responsible for all official signals, explanations and announcements to the players, coaches and crowd. Referees also review all challenged plays.
Super Bowl LVII will be the third time in the past seven seasons that Referee Carl Cheffers has been in charge of the big game. The last two Super Bowls Carl Cheffers refereed was the Patriots 34-28 comeback win against the Falcons and the Buccaneers 31-9 blowout win against the Chiefs. When Carl Cheffers is head referee the favorites are 9-8 ATS this season and 12-5 SU.
Carl Cheffers has been an official in the NFL for 23 years. Cheffers refereed two Chiefs games this season, coming in Week five versus the Raiders. Cheffers' crew threw five flags against the Chiefs for 72 yards, including one controversial roughing the passer on Chiefs DT Chris Jones(Cheffers call) and 11 flags on the Raiders for 99 yards. The second game was against the Texans in week 15. The Chiefs were penalized a season high 10 times for 102 yards. Cheffers refereed only one Philadelphia game this season. Week 18 against the Giants, who sat their starters. Philadelphia was flagged four times for 30 yards. History points to the UNDER as a solid play with Referee Carl Cheffers in charge of this year's Super Bowl. 10 of Cheffers' 12 officiated playoff games have gone under with one of the other two games hitting the O/U number exactly, causing a push. On the season Cheffers is 7-10 O/U.
Umpire Roy Ellison
3rd Super Bowl
16 total postseason games as an official (4 wild card, 6 divisional, 4 conference championships, 2 Super Bowls)
The Role For Umpire Roy Ellison (#81): The umpire is responsible for spotting and assessing line play penalties: holding, illegal blocks, illegal contact, illegal hands to the face, etc. They also count the number of offensive players on the field.
Roy Ellison has been an NFL official for 20 years. This will be Roy's third Super Bowl appearance (SB XLIII Steelers/Cardinals and SB LII Eagles/Patriots) Ellison umpired only one Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles games this season. The Chiefs game was in Week 12 versus the Rams. Only three penalties were called against the Chiefs for 25 yards. The Eagles game was week 13 against the Titans. The Eagles had 12 penalties against them for 80 yards.
The Chiefs game went UNDER, while the Eagles game went OVER by 0.5 points.
Down Judge Jarod Phillips
First Super Bowl
7 total postseason games as an official (2 WC, 3 Div, 2 CC)
The Role For Down Judge Jared Phillips (#6): Also called the “head linesman,” the down judge stands on the visitor’s side of the line of scrimmage primarily watching for offsides, false starts and encroachment, as well as neutral zone and pre-snap penalties. After the snap, the down judge watches the play near them. The down judge is also responsible for managing and coordinating the chain gang and carries a chain clamp that anchors one end of the first down chains during a measurement. It's their job to make sure the chain is properly spotted and anchored during a measurement.
Jarod Phillips has been an official for seven years, all seven as a down judge/head lineman. This will be his first Super Bowl. He officiated one Eagles game this season but wasn't involved in any Chiefs matchups. The Eagles game he officiated was the Divisional round matchup between Philadelphia and New York, where five flags were thrown against the Eagles and only one against the Giants.
The Role For Line Judge Jeff Bergman (#32): The line judge stands on the home sideline, looks down the line of scrimmage and watches for pre-snap, neutral zone and alignment penalties. They also assume responsibility for plays that happen on or near his or her sideline within 5 to 7 yards of the line of scrimmage and are responsible for keeping the manual game time. In the NFL, the official time is literally whatever the scoreboard says it is, but the line judge must also keep time manually and inform the referee of discrepancies, as well as serve as a backup in case the scoreboard fails.
Jeff Bergman has been an official in the NFL for 30 years, 28 years as a line judge. This will also be his third Super Bowl appearance (SB XXXI Patriots/Packers and SB LIII Patriots/Rams 2019).
Jeff was a line judge for two Eagles games and one Chiefs game this season. The first Eagles game was against the Commanders, week 10. Seven penalties for 75 yards were called against Philadelphia. The second game was week 16 against the Cowboys. The Eagles were penalized twice for 10 yards. The Chiefs game that was judged by Bergman was against San Francisco in Week seven, where eight penalties were called against Kansas City for 84 yards.
Field Judge John Jenkins
First Super Bowl
4 total postseason games as an official (1 WC, 3 Div)
The Role For Field Judge John Jenkins (#117): The field judge stands on the same side as the line judge, but 20 yards deep instead of near the line of scrimmage. The line judge also counts all defensive players at the time of the snap, checking for too many men on the field. They watch all of the eligible receivers on their side of the field, ruling on catches as complete or incomplete, calling down the field penalties, and spotting the ball in bounds or out of bounds. They also watch for field goal attempts and rule if they are good or no good.
This is John Jenkins ninth year as a field judge and first year officiating a Super Bowl. John officiated two Eagles games and one Chiefs game this season. The first Eagles game was against the Commanders, week 10. Seven penalties for 75 yards were called against Philadelphia. The second game was week 16 against the Cowboys. The Eagles were penalized twice for 10 yards. The Chiefs game that was judged by Bergman was against San Francisco in week seven, where eight penalties were called against Kansas City for 84 yards.
Side Judge Eugene Hall
Third Super Bowl
12 total postseason games as an official (3 WC, 4 Div, 3 CC, 2 SB)
The Role For Side Judge Eugene Hall (#103): The side judge lines up and watches the visitors side of the field starting each play 20 yards down the field around where a safety lines up. They are primarily ruling on the results of plays down the field such as pass completions or fouls like pass interference and defensive holding, as well as spotting the ball in or out of bounds and whistling plays dead. On field goal attempts, the side judge acts as a second umpire and lines up parallel with the main umpire.
Eugene Hall has been an NFL official for nine years. The last six years Hall has been a Side Judge. This will be Hall's third Super Bowl appearance (SB LIII Patriots/Rams 2019, SB LV Buccaneers/Chiefs). Hall was the side judge for two Chiefs and two Eagles games this season. Hall was on Carl Cheffers crew this season so you can refer to Cheffers breakdown for three of the four games Hall was a part of. The game that Hall was a part of that didn't involve Cheffers was the NFC Divisional Round matchup between the Eagles and Giants. The Eagles were penalized five times for 25 yards and the Giants were penalized once for five yards.
An interesting side note: Carl Cheffers crew rank fourth overall at defensive pass interference penalties. Hall is the only official working this Super Bowl from Cheffers' crew. In these big games normally the referees lean towards letting the players play, but in the last two Super Bowls which Carl Cheffers has been the referee there have been five pass interference penalties called. This amounts to more than twice the rate of an average NFL game.
Back Judge Dino Paganelli
Third Super Bowl
16 total postseason games as an official (2 WC, 10 Div, 2 CC, 2 SB)
The Role For Back Judge Dino Paganelli (#105): The back judge’s number one responsibility is to watch over all kicks from scrimmage, including putting arms up for good field goals. They are also responsible for calling teams back after breaks or timeouts and pulling teams back into play after each quarter and halftime. During play, the back judge is lined up behind the farthest safety or defensive back on the field. They make all the same calls as the field and side judges.
Dino Paganelli has 17 years under his belt as an NFL official and has worked two Super Bowls as a back judge(SB XLVII Ravens/49ers and SB LV Chiefs/Buccaneers).
Paganelli officiated only one game this season for both Kansas City and Philadelphia. The Chiefs game was week three against the Colts where six penalty flags were thrown against the Chiefs for 45 yards. The Eagles game was week 12 where three penalty flags were thrown against the Eagles for 25 yards.
Dino Paganelli has been a part of Shawn Smith's crew who over the past four seasons consistently has been average to above average at calling defensive pass interference.
Overall Takeaways For The Super Bowl LVII Officiating Crew
Every official has officiated at least one Eagles game this season, while only one official in this crew has not officiated a Chiefs game. Here are the records and penalty averages in these games:
Philadelphia Eagles 3-2 SU, 3-3 ATS, 4-2 O/U
Kansas City Chiefs 4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS, 3-2 O/U
107 flags flew against the Eagles - average of 5.6 flags per game
94 flags flew against the Chiefs - average of 4.9 per game
For the season Philadelphia and Kansas City rank 19th and 26th in total penalties against them. The Eagles and Chiefs average 39 and 38.6 penalty yards per game, respectively, as well.
Past 10 Super Bowl Penalties
SB 56- Los Angeles 2-10/ Cincinnati 4-31
*SB 55- Tampa Bay 4-39/ Kansas City 11-120
SB 54- Kansas City 4-24/ San Francisco 5-45
SB 53- New England 3-20/ Los Angeles 9-65
SB 52- Philadelphia 6-35/ New England 1-5
*SB 51- New England 4-23/ Atlanta 9-56
SB 50- Denver 6-51/ Carolina 12-102
SB 49- New England 5-36/ Seattle 7-70
SB 48- Seattle 10-104/ Denver 5-44
SB 47- Baltimore 2-20/ San Francisco 5-33
*Cheffers Refereed this Super Bowl
Philadelphia/Kansas City Last 10 Games Penalties Called and Yards
Conference Championship- Philadelphia 4-34/ Kansas City 4-55
Divisional Round- Philadelphia 5-25/ Kansas City 3-30
Week 18- Philadelphia 4-30/ Kansas City 5-43
Week 17- Philadelphia 8-49/ Kansas City 5-31
Week 16- Philadelphia 2-10/ Kansas City 5-39
Week 15- Philadelphia 2-25/ Kansas City 10-102
Week 14- Philadelphia 2-9/ Kansas City 4-70
Week 13- Philadelphia 12-80/ Kansas City 4-35
Week 12- Philadelphia 3-25/ Kansas City 3-25
Week 10- Philadelphia 7-55/ Kansas City 4-54
Carl Cheffers' Crew - Penalties/Penalty Yards Called for 2022-2023
Week 1- Buf/LAR 9 penalties for 65 yds
Week 2- Den/Hou 21 penalties for 194 yds
Week 3- Car/NO 11 penalties for 98 yds
Week 4- NYG/Chi 12 penalties for 120 yds
Week 5- KC/LV 16 penalties for 171 yds
Week 6- Atl/SF 10 penalties for 70 yds
Week 8- Bal/TB 11 penalties for 136 yds
Week 9- Ari/Sea 18 penalties for 111 yds
Week 10- Pit/NO 13 penalties for 114 yds
Week 11- NE/NYJ 11 penalties for 70 yds
Week 12- Ten/Cin 17 penalties for 137 yds
Week 13- Ind/Dal 9 penalties for 97 yds
Week 15- KC/Hou 14 penalties for 135 yds
Week 16- Chi/Buf 11 penalties for 87 yds
Week 17- GB/Min 9 penalties for 65 yds
Week 18- Phi/NYG 15 penalties for 145 yds
Week 18- Phi/Dal 12 penalties for 96 yds
Divisional Round- Buf/Cin 10 penalties for 70 yds
The frustration that has come with this article is that penalty props are far and few between this year across the market for both domestic and offshore books, as I've only been able to place these two wagers with my own personal bookie:
OVER 79.5 total penalty yards
OVER 10 total penalty yards
With Referee Carl Cheffers in charge of Super Bowl LVII I feel pretty confident that this crew will not let anything slide especially when it comes to defensive pass interference. The Chiefs rank #1 as the most penalized team to commit defensive pass interference this season. While the Eagles were one of the most effective teams this season to draw defensive pass interference with 10 calls going Philadelphia's way for an average of 15.3 yards this season. The Eagles ranked fifth overall for Unnecessary Roughness penalties this season. Carl Cheffers led the league in making this call in 2021 and was fourth in 2022. Since 2018 Carl Cheffers has called five of the 17 roughing the passer penalties AGAINST the Chiefs, including Chris Jones controversial hit on Derek Carr during week 5 matchup against the Raiders.
My favorite play for the game is penalty yards to the OVER at 79.5 but unfortunately I can't find it available right now. Keep an eye open for it later this week. The other prop I love is total accepted penalties to the over at 10.5. It currently is +110 at PointsBet
Good luck to all on Sunday. Bet with confidence. Bet like you are always on a heater!
By Ben Martinez
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