Pundits Stunned as Super Bowl Is 'Essentially Ended' by 'Absolutely Awful' Call
In a Super Bowl that called for dramatics and heroics as a fitting conclusion, it was a penalty flag that virtually sealed a victory for the Kansas City Chiefs and outraged Philadelphia Eagles fans on Sunday in Glendale, Arizona.
It was as classic a moment as a Super Bowl could offer. With just under two minutes remaining and the game tied 35-35, the Chiefs were nearing the Eagles’ goal line.
A third-down pass from Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, throwing under pressure, sailed over the head of wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster and landed in the end zone.
In what appeared to be a script written for a dramatic finale, that would have meant the Chiefs would try a field goal from the 15-yard line, and Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts could try to add to his outstanding game with a clutch last-minute drive win the game or send it to overtime.
But reality wrote a different ending.
Holding was called on Eagles defensive back James Bradberry.
HUGE HOLDING CALL pic.twitter.com/rvWkQmG5yV
— Arye Pulli (@AryePulliTSP) February 13, 2023
Instead of more than a minute for Philadelphia to rally, the Chiefs had that time to run one play before Mahomes took a knee twice. By the time Harrison Butker kicked a field goal, there were only 11 seconds left.
After one last desperation play by the Eagles, Kansas City was celebrating its victory in Super Bowl LVII.
Twitter seethed with woulda-coulda-shoulda outrage, with one post fuming, “That’s a joke,” and others bemoaning an “awful” call that “essentially ended” what could have been one of the most dramatic Super Bowls ever.
Absolutely awful penalty
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) February 13, 2023
Eagles weren’t robbed of a win. Hurts was robbed of a CHANCE to answer. Refs blew what could’ve been one of the best Super Bowl finishes in recent memory.
— Brenden Peddigree (@BrendenP_NFL) February 13, 2023
The penalty essentially ended the game.
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) February 13, 2023
An unbelievable game ends on that penalty. That’s a joke.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) February 13, 2023
Worst call in SB history and it ain’t close. pic.twitter.com/GnNHjWG0Wq
— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) February 13, 2023
One of these was a penalty… one wasn’t pic.twitter.com/66HCfRmmlX
— Nick Perkins (@NPerkins96) February 13, 2023
Real penalty, or script?pic.twitter.com/kZ8xwLv3f0
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) February 13, 2023
The Eagles weren’t just robbed…the fans were robbed of an all-time Super Bowl finish…
— Douglas Rich (@RealDougRich) February 13, 2023
I WANT TO THROW UP. WHAT A DISGUSTING CALL. Arian Foster was right. The NFL IS FIXED.pic.twitter.com/SNF5U8pLSl
— JOKER🇵🇦 (@panamaraised) February 13, 2023
As for Bradberry, he did not pile on the criticism of the referees.
“It was a holding. I tugged his jersey. I was hoping they would let it slide,” he said after the game, according to USA Today.
James Bradberry owns up to the holding penalty.
He stood at his locker for a long while and answered every question about it. pic.twitter.com/qZbbLMtOpA
— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) February 13, 2023
“It was a clear case of a jersey grab that caused restriction,” referee Carl Cheffers said.
“That’s what we’re looking for, those kind of restrictions in those kind of routes that put the receiver at a disadvantage,” Cheffers said.
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