It was a nightmare scenario, and the nightmare occurred

Unfortunate way for CIN-KC to end. Refs got the penalty call right, but that ending did not do justice to an evenly matched, hard-fought game.

I concur. I wanted to see overtime with the new playoff rules.

I can’t believe the refs called that last foul on the Bengals and let KC win. Yeah, it was a little late, but not intentional or hard. What’s your take?

I thought it was an unfortunate lack of discipline at a key moment by a linebacker who had played his butt off all day. There was no question Mahomes was going out of bounds and he should’ve been left alone. The hit was made to look worse than it was, but the officials had no choice. They had to flag it.

Bigger fatal flaw for the Bengals – the Joseph Ossai roughing-the-passer penalty, or their rickety offensive line?

Kansas City’s defensive front did to that banged-up Cincy O-line what Buffalo’s couldn’t. The Bengals made some nice adjustments through the middle of the game to protect Burrow, but with the outcome in the balance the protection didn’t hold up.

Any explanation on the Chiefs’ overturned first-down challenge? A first down isn’t like crossing the end zone. If a player pulls the ball back voluntarily, shouldn’t he be spotted where the ball ended up? Like when a player runs backwards, he it’s not spotted where he was.

My thoughts exactly, and other readers were on the same page. I didn’t understand it. The replay booth suddenly decided to treat the first-down line like the goal line. They made that one up. Phony, reversal bogus.

Both of these games, the officials left their footprint. How does a championship game crew let a team have a do-over on a critical part of the game? It just always felt like the officials were going to call something on every important play.

I’ve come to expect the officiating to have a major impact on every game. It’s not fun to watch in that regard. But with that mindset, then I’m pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t happen. The NFL will look at the boffo TV ratings for that AFC title game and move on.

Every year the road to the Super Bowl is littered with the victims of mind-numbing calls and non-calls that leave even casual fans questioning whether football is simply scripted entertainment. I realize that the players, coaches, and even the officials are human beings who make mistakes. And I’m willing to concede that controversy keeps the sport in the spotlight. But at what point does the specter of gambling improprieties force the NFL to address, and fix, the problem?

That’s the only thing that might do it, because the NFL has now cozied up to the gambling industry to get a slice of that economic pie. But I’m not holding my breath. Every call that swings a bet benefits as many people as it hurts, or at least close to it. The league knows the gamblers aren’t going away, just as they know the TV viewers aren’t either.

What is MVS costing the Chiefs? Woulda, coulda, shoulda!

Kudos to MVS on a strong game and Super Bowl berth, but the Packers weren’t going to pay him $10M per year. That kind of contract was a non-starter given Green Bay’s cap situation, and he made a good business decision for himself.

Hey Insiders, we were all amazed by Smith’s catch on the opening drive of the Eagles vs. 49ers game. We saw four or five camera angles and all assumed it was a catch. Then after the touchdown and commercial break, we saw the only angle that showed the ball and it was clearly a drop. What camera angles are available to the 49ers’ staff in that situation? Where was the league office? Is this another flaw in the replay system?

Clearly, but on the initial live look, I wasn’t sure he caught it, and while the initial replays didn’t show the ball hitting the ground, they didn’t confirm a catch either. The booth should’ve been able to fix that with replay assist, because it has immediate access to all angles, whether shown on TV or not (the coaches’ booths have TV feeds only). But with it coming on fourth down, it was an obvious moment for the 49ers to challenge it. I’ll never fault a coach for challenging something uncertain in a change-of-possession situation. There was too much at stake there not to. First-and-goal for them or turnover on downs and you get the ball, when it’s obviously iffy? Throw the red flag.

Happy Monday Mike, I get that the QB situation was tough to overcome, but I can’t help feel that the 49ers beat the 49ers.

San Francisco’s early plan to deal with Reddick was at best risky, at worst negligent, and the 49ers paid for it. Dearly. That’s football. Shanahan did a phenomenal job getting the 49ers that far with a rookie seventh-round pick at QB, but he’s going to spend the offseason thinking about a protection call that had a backup tight end blocking one of the league’s best edge rushers. It’s a nightmare scenario, and the nightmare occurred.

Hi Mike, it looks like there’s a very strong possibility that Bisaccia could be the new Colts HC. Hate to see him go but it would be well deserved. Would one of his assistants take over his spot if Rich ends up with the coaching job?

Congrats to Bisaccia on getting a second interview in Indy. I don’t know if LaFleur would turn the special teams over to Byron Storer or not. Storer has never been a coordinator before, but the Packers are his fourth club as a special teams assistant. It would be a great career opportunity for him, but it would be up to LaFleur whether he’s ready for it.

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