It’s a well-known fact that superstars are gifted calls in big games — Warriors head coach Steve Kerr recently said it himself — and Bucs quarterback Tom Brady has certainly benefited from such calls over the years.
Brady, when playing for the Patriots, was gifted a call in the 2018 AFC title game that changed the course of NFL history, as he threw an interception in the final minutes of the contest, yet referees threw a late penalty flag, claiming that Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford was lined up offside, nullifying the big play. The Patriots went on to win the game, helping Brady win another ring, wheres Patrick Mahomes could’ve had a second one, but was denied the opportunity.
Well, it seems the favorable calls followed Brady to Tampa, because of course they did, as evidenced by what took place in the 2020 postseason.
In the NFC title game, the Bucs were clearly the more physical team, yet were called for only two penalties — amounting to a whopping eight yards. The Packers were hit with four, including a questionable pass interference call to help the Bucs ice the game on a ball that appeared uncatchable.
And yet, in the Super Bowl, it was quite a different story — but again, one that benefited the Bucs greatly. The Chiefs were called for 11 penalties in the game, while the Bucs were hit with only four. One of the worst of them nullified a Brady interception by Tyrann Mathieu at a key point in the first half of the game. In fact, there was a point when the Chiefs were called for eight penalties, with only one for the Bucs.
In fact, “Sunday Night Football” rules analyst Terry McAulay took note of it, and tweeted out the following.
Neither defensive hold called on KC comes close to the standard we saw the entire season for that call all season and certainly not what we saw in TB/GB.
— Terry McAulay (@SNFRules) February 8, 2021
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers sure seemed to agree, as he actually “liked” the tweet, as you can see in the screenshot below.
We liked it, too, for what it’s worth. McAulay is spot on with his analysis, and Rodgers knows it. Unfortunately, the officiating in the NFC title game and Super Bowl may have impacted how the playoffs turned out, and that’s a shame.