KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been more than eight years since Ron Torbert refereed a game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, according to Pro Football Reference, but that will change Sunday for the AFC Championship Game.
Football Zebras reported Monday that Torbert would serve as the white hat for the Bengals at Chiefs on Sunday evening. It’s his first conference championship game assignment as a referee.
Torbert, 59, has been an NFL official since 2010 and a referee since 2014. His first game in a white hat came in Kansas City’s 26-10 loss against Tennessee to open the 2014 season.
That remains the only game he’s refereed at Arrowhead in nine seasons wearing the white hat.
The Chiefs lost four of the first five games played with Torbert as the referee, but have won three of their four Tobert-refereed games since 2017.
Kansas City’s only win with Torbert refereeing during his first three seasons came in the only Chiefs postseason game he has officiated, a 30-0 trouncing of Houston in the AFC Wild Card round.
Torbert, a Hanover, Maryland-based attorney by trade, has only refereed four Chiefs games in the last six seasons — wins in 2017 at Houston, in 2018 at Cleveland and in 2020 at Buffalo.
He has only refereed one of Kansas City’s games during the last two seasons, a 34-31 regular-season loss at Cincinnati last season when he served as a last-minute sub on John Hussey’s crew.
That game featured two fourth-down penalties against Chiefs defensive backs in the end zone on the Bengals’ game-winning field goal drive.
During three games across the last five seasons, Kansas City has been called flagged 29 times for 237 yards compared to 13 penalties for 121 yards levied against the Chiefs’ opponents in games officiating by Torbert’s crew.
The Chiefs went 1-2 in three games with Torbert as a side judge before his promotion to referee.
Since Joe Burrow was the No. 1 overall pick in 2020, Torbert has refereed three other Cincinnati games — including last season’s Super Bowl loss to the Los Angeles Rams and the Bengals' regular-season finale three weeks ago, a 27-16 win at Baltimore.
Torbert’s crew called the fourth-fewest penalties per game in the NFL this season (10.75), but it was one of only four crews that called more penalties on home teams (89) than road teams (83), according to the NFL Penalties database.
His crew calls the fourth-fewest penalties per game on road teams in the NFL this season.
Chiefs’ record with Ron Torbert officiating
* AFC Wild Card game