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Is the NFL setting the stage for a Chiefs win in Baltimore?

Let the conspiracy theories begin, but there is data to back this one up.

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Seattle Seahawks v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

It’s the year of Taylor Swift in the NFL and she is attached to the Kansas City Chiefs. The NFL has good reason to hope they take down the number one seed Baltimore Ravens this weekend to reach the Super Bowl. Those are the kinds of things conspiracy types would suggest, but this time there is hard data to back them up.

Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis this week broke down the facts after the NFL assigned Shawn Smith’s crew to the AFC Championship Game this weekend.

Home teams have won only 40.8% of games in the last three years with Smith as referee.

That is the lowest win rate for any referee in the NFL.

Across the NFL, home teams have won 55.4% of games during that span. With Smith, the rate precipitously drops down to 40.8%.

Source: NFL Referee Trends & Impact, Ravens vs. Chiefs

He went on to note many other stats to back up the road team favorability when Smith is officiating. His crew ranked number one out of 24 crews in road team win percentage since 2018.

To this Denver Broncos fan, it sure looks like the NFL is doing everything they can to help the Chiefs to another Super Bowl appearance and that is disappointing. If I were a Ravens fan, I’d be furious over this nonsense. Hopefully the Ravens players got wind of this too and dominate the game anyway.

Sharp went on to talk about the other crew this weekend between the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions and the stats swing in the complete opposite direction. There Clete Blakeman’s crew is one of the most favorable officiating crews for home teams. That means the Lions are going to have a heck of a time overcoming that in much the same way the Ravens will have on their end.

It would be nice if these statistics came up during officiating reviews after the season and crews had to work to become better at being completely unbiased towards either opponent in the total mean average. If you officiating 100 games, you’d think you’d be close to 50-50 on bias one way or the other. That is clearly not the case with the officiating crews we’re going to see this weekend.

I encourage you to read the entire analysis on this subject from Warren Sharp linked above. Are his findings irrelevant or should the NFL be taking this type of bias more seriously during the playoffs? Share in the comments section below.

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