“Prior to the pass, holding, #24 defense… 5-yard penalty, automatic first down”
“I pulled on his jersey,” said Eagles CB James Bradberry when asked about his controversial holding call at the end of the game.
Well, James Bradberry, are you sure about that? Fox Sports rules analyst Mike Pereira and color commentators Greg Olson and Kevin Burkhardt would say otherwise. I would as well.
Bradberry, a savvy vet and All-Pro cornerback, is the culprit in question during the most controversial play in this year’s Super Bowl. Let us breakdown this play step-by-step to ensure the magnitude of the moment is captured sufficiently.
It is 3rd down and 8 on the Eagles’ 15-yard line with 1:54 left on the game clock. Philadelphia has one timeout in its back pocket and plenty of time to drive down the field one last time if the Chiefs were to throw an incompletion and kick a field goal 4th down. Now, to the play in question:
QB Patrick Mahomes motions WR JuJu Smith-Schuster inside to the slot position and snaps the football with 7 seconds on the play clock. Smith-Schuster runs a whip route into an out-and-up after noticing his quarterback is under pressure. Attempting to create separation and a throwing lane for his quarterback, Smith-Schuster bee-lines to the pylon with Bradberry tailing on his inside hip.
Throwing up a prayer, intending to throw the ball out of bounds and live another down, Mahomes sails a rainbow of a pass 5 yards beyond Smith-Schuster’s reach and out of play. Initially, there is no complaint from Smith-Schuster, Mahomes, or anyone on the Chiefs in regard to a potential defensive penalty.
Suddenly, out of the depths of one of the zebra’s pockets flies a flimsy piece of yellow laundry, causing all helmets to stare wide-eyed at one another as the two teams wonder who committed the egregious felony.
“Prior to the pass, holding, #24 defense… 5-yard penalty, automatic first down,” announces head referee Carl Cheffers.
Immediately, Greg Olson, voicing the opinion of the entire nation, declares, “I don’t know. Mike, listen, I think on this stage, I think you let ‘em play… I don’t like that call. In this moment, oh man, that is a game altering penalty… To me, it looks like he’s in good position… I know right now Philadelphia fans are losing their mind.”
Yeah, Mr. Olson, I was losing my mind. I am still losing my mind. In fact, I might puke my guts out onto this keyboard before I finish this article, that is, unless I lose my mind first.
“It changes the entire complexion of how this classic game is going to end,” says Olson. CLASSIC — that’s the key word to takeaway from this game. It’s a shame that one of the greatest Super Bowls of this generation – a Super Bowl in which a touchdown was scored on nearly every possession – would be marred by such a nauseating blow of a whistle.
In the end, Jalen Hurts outplayed Patrick Mahomes, but Philadelphia’s defense was a no-show all game, until they were all-show in the worst moment of them all.
Until next time.