NFL refs explain Kadarius Toney penalty with brutal honesty

The Kansas City Chiefs were very upset about a critical offsides call on Kadarius Toney late in Sunday's game, but NFL refs were very clear they felt the right call was made.

Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs
Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

The biggest controversy from Sunday of Week 14 came in Kansas City as the referees called a rare offensive offsides call late in the Chiefs' 20-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The call came with the Chiefs trying to drive for the go-ahead touchdown in the final two minutes and wiped out a go-ahead touchdown to Travis Kelce, leading Andy Reid to rip the officiating crew after the game for failing to warn Toney he was lined up offsides prior to the snap.

The Chiefs certainly have a right to be upset as this marked the second consecutive week a crucial call went against them late in a game after officials failed to call an obvious pass interference call against the Green Bay Packers in Week 13. That play would have set up Kansas City with first and goal inside the 10-yard line, but NFL officials have made it clear that they feel the refs on the call of the Chiefs-Bills game made the correct decision.

NFL officials defend critical offsides call against Kadarius Toney

NFL policy has the head referee, in this case Carl Cheffers, and NFL Senior VP of Officiating Walt Anderson made available to a pool reporter for any questions after a game. The Toney call was one of the questions addressed by the crew and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero shared the report on X, which offered a key explanation as to why no such warning was issued.

When asked specifically about Reid's notion that Toney should have received a warning about being lined up offsides, Cheffers said the following:

"Yes, ultimately, if they looked for alignment advice, certainly we are going to give it to them. But ultimately, they are responsible for wherever they line up. And, certainly, no warning is required, especially if they are lined up so far offsides where they're actually blocking our view of the ball. So, we would give them some sort of a warning if it was anywhere close, but this particular one is beyond a warning."

In other words, if Toney was close enough that he could've moved a half step back to get back onsides the referee would have given him a warning. Toney was so far offsides, however, that he blocked the official's view of the football and left no choice but for a flag to be thrown in the opinion of Cheffers' crew.

That explanation won't offer any solace for the Chiefs, who have lost three of their past four games to drop to 8-5 and suddenly put the AFC West back in play with Denver trailing them by just a game in the division. Kansas City will look to bounce back as they head to New England on Sunday to take on the 3-10 Patriots.

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