NFL officiating has been under fire all year – and now one critical and incredibly divisive call has decided the Super Bowl.
With less than two minutes left, Kansas City was driving with the scores level at 35-all, with Patrick Mahomes having led an excellent comeback despite an ankle injury.
They appeared to have been forced to kick a field goal after a fourth-down stop before a late penalty flag was thrown, with Philadelphia cornerback James Bradberry called for holding on Kansas City receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
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Replays immediately showed Bradberry had barely made contact with the ex-Steeler.
Fans, already fuming after the controversial officiating in the Chiefs’ AFC Championship game win over Cincinnati, were left furious – even the neutrals who were witnessing one of the great Super Bowls up to that moment.
The automatic first down allowed the Chiefs to kneel out the drive and kick a Harrison Butker field goal with eight seconds left, with Philly unable to do anything from their last-ditch Hail Mary.
Ironically the controversial call came just days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claimed “for us, when you look at officiating, I don’t think it’s ever been better in the league”.
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At best, the decision was borderline correct but not something anyone would expect to be called in the final minutes of a tied Super Bowl.
At worst, it wrongly decided the entire season.
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