Sunday’s Super Bowl ended in controversy when Eagles CB James Bradberry was called for holding with less than two minutes left in the game. Early in the play, Bradberry looked to tug on Chiefs receiver JuJu Smith-shirt, Schuster’s, and the ball went over the wideout’s head on third-and-8.
The penalty negated the stop, allowing Kansas City to score the game-winning field goal. The flag was criticized since there didn’t appear to be much contact on the play, and supporters were upset that such a minor tug was issued during the season’s most important match. Tom Brady, a fan, addressed the banner on his podcast.
“Well it’s always, I think, easier not to call it,” he said on the Let’s Go! podcast. “The hard one is when you do call it because there’s a lot of scrutiny with that call. And I think the point is at least from a receiver/DB standpoint, if you’re not gonna cover him, let’s say, within the letter of the law and you’re gonna tug at him, you can impede the receiver from where he wants to go and create an almost impossible throw-and-catch by the quarterback. And at the same time on the other side of the ball, if the receiver pushes off, there’s really nothing the DB can do in order to make the play.
“So, you know, those plays come up all the time. In every part of the game, they could be called. So the fact that it just comes down to that one moment—I’m sure there were lots of other holds that were let go,” he continued. “There were probably a few that they called and in the end, you just have to, you know, the ref is trying to do the best that he could do. So I don’t get caught up too much on one call. I think I’ve been in sports long enough where I realize there’s a lot of things that impact the game and one referee’s call, yeah it’s important but, you know, the referees are doing the best they could do and they’re not robots either.”
After the game, Philadelphia players, including coach Nick Sirianni, were keen to emphasize that one call did not lose them the game. Bradberry also admitted to having Smith-Schuster on his team. “It was a hold, so they called it,” he said after the 38–35 loss.