Yes, you can say that again and as many times as you want. The Bengals have exceeded everyone’s expectations except for their own.
This team has what it takes to rule the NFL for the first time in the franchise’s history, and while many aren’t thinking they have much of a chance against the Kansas City Chiefs, there’s no doubt they believe in themselves.
And to be quite frank, how can you not believe in them as well when they’re rocking the all-white jerseys? That’s what they’re set to play in on Sunday.
Looks so nice, we'll wear it twice!— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 25, 2022
Our uniforms for the AFC Championship Game. ⤵ pic.twitter.com/wGgHA7bxK8
The Chiefs don’t always announce their uniform combo, but expect it to include their standard home red jerseys and either white or red pants.
While the jerseys matter for fans, what will undoubtedly raise more controversy is the officiating, especially after the disastrous crew that took the field for the Raiders - Bengals Wild Card game. It was so bad that they didn’t return this postseason.
As for the referee crew this week, it will be led by Bill Vinovich, according to the NFL. Vinovich’s crew will include umpire Fred Bryan, down judge Ed Camp, field judge Mearl Robinson, line judge Jeff Seeman, side judge Jonah Monroe and back judge Greg Meyer.
The NFC Championship officials will be led by Carl Cheffers.
Per CBS Sports writer John Breech, the Bengals are 1-5 over the last five years in games with Vinovich, including a 1-2 mark this season. The Chiefs are 6-3, including a 2-0 mark this season. Vinovich has also officiated the Chiefs’ AFC title win over the Buffalo Bills during the 2020 season, as well as their Super Bowl 54 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
It should be noted that one of the games Vinovich officiated for the Bengals was the Week 18 loss in Cleveland when very few starters played. He also officiated the Chiefs’ 2018 blowout win of the Bengals at Arrowhead. That was the last time Cincinnati played a regular-season game at Kansas City.
The Bengals have averaged the third-fewest penalties per game this season. Only Green Bay and Indianapolis averaged fewer flags. For reference, the Bengals ranked outside the top 20 in the last two Marvin Lewis-led seasons.
The Bengals are currently touchdown underdogs as they travel west to face Kansas City. The Chiefs are coming off a thrilling overtime win over the Josh Allen-led Bills. The Bengals defeated the top-ranked Tennessee Titans in Nashville with a walk-off field goal.
This is set to be a thrilling game, hopefully one which isn’t overly impacted by the officials.
If you want to read more about this week’s officiating crew, check out this article from FootballZebras.com.