1. We’re hot on the heels of a horribly officiated AFC title game and #NFLRigged trending for more than 24 hours on Twitter, so you can fully expect the spotlight during Super Bowl LVII to be on referee Carl Cheffers.
And I have some bad news for all you loyal “Traina Thoughts” readers.
According to BetArizona.com, which was kind enough to send me some stats, Cheffers ranked first in total penalties called per game this season at 12.59. Cheffers also led all NFL refs in penalties called last season.
He also was first in total yards in penalties given per game at 109.94.
Cheffers and his crew (which will be different for the Super Bowl) also called 21 pass interferences this season, which ranked second among NFL refs.
Great. Just what every NFL fan wants for the Super Bowl: A flag-fest.
From a betting perspective, the Chiefs-Eagles over/under as of this writing sits at 49.5. If you’re thinking of placing a wager on the over, be careful. Very careful.
Cheffers has called 12 playoff games since 2010, and, in those games, the under is 11–1. That makes sense since drives are constantly stalled by Cheffers’s flags.
Philadelphia is a 1.5-point favorite over Kansas City. Since 2019, underdogs are Cheffers’s games are 42-24-2 with the points.
At least Cheffers will have the benefit of calling the game at a neutral site. The last time we saw Cheffers at Arrowhead Stadium against the Raiders in Week 5, Chiefs fans had him rattled after some bad calls.
2. Viewership numbers for NFL title games: Niners-Eagles, Fox: 47.5 million viewers; Bengals-Chiefs, CBS: 53.1 million viewers; Niners-Eagles definitely hurt by one team playing without a QB for three quarters.
3. Chiefs wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling, coming off a great AFC title game in which he had six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, seems excited about playing in the Super Bowl, but not because of the game.
Hopefully Valdes-Scantling can enjoy Rihanna’s performance without getting any backlash. You'll recall last year that Bengals kicker Evan McPherson stayed on the field at halftime to watch Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and 50 Cent, which led to some hot-takers taking him to task for not being with his teammates or not being focused or some other BS.
4. Nutrition doesn’t sound like a top priority for Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards.
5. ESPN and TNT have doubled the number of NHL games they've aired this season, and it’s hurt the ratings.
According to Sports Business Journal, NHL viewership on ESPN and TNT is down 22%. NHL games are averaging 373,000 viewers on ESPN and TNT so far this season.
6. If you're a Bears fan, do NOT read this item. Just skip it. It's NSFW.
7. This week’s SI Media Podcast features a conversation with Good Morning Football host Jason McCourty.
McCourty discusses his first year on the NFL Network show, how he's adjusted to doing a show that starts at 7 a.m., what it was like to replace Nate Burleson, whether it's tough for him as a former player to criticize current players and which of his GMFB cohosts is the crankiest in the morning.
The 13-year NFL veteran also talks about Bill Belichick's rules for Patriots players regarding the media, Tom Brady going viral for his expletive-filled answer about his future, the difference between people on the East Coast and Midwest and much more.
Following McCourty, Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV in New York joins me for our weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week, we discuss Scott Rolen getting into the Hall of Fame, Shannon Sharpe getting into a ruckus at an NBA game, the Rocky movies, movie soundtracks and more.
You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Google.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
8. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Bad job by me Monday not featuring a Rock video after Travis Kelce channeled The Great One after the AFC championship game. Here is vintage Rock at the peak of his promos dropping all his catchphrases, including “Know your Role and shut your mouth” on some “cops.”
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.