There are two schools of thought amongst fans when championship games come down to the wire. There's the crowd that wants the game officiated to the letter, with referees looking for every infraction possible to ensure the game is played fairly and by the book. That's something we can all agree on, right? The second school of thought is "let the boys play." Asking officials to keep the whistle out of their mouths on close plays to let things play out. The main argument for this is that referees should not put themselves in the middle of the action nor should they change the outcome of the game. Unfortunately for Super Bowl LVII's officiating crew, they have fans from both sides arguing about a controversial call at the end of the fourth quarter.
Where do you stand on the holding call heard 'round the world?
Undisputed Fact: James Bradberry Grabs JuJu Smith-Schuster
Since apparently Greg Olsen gaslit everyone into thinking that was a bad holding call, here?s the jersey grab and pull by Bradberry on JuJu Smith-Schuster. Not egregious but a pretty textbook hold. pic.twitter.com/D6FYEqzwWC
— Drew Loveland (@drewloveland) February 13, 2023
Let's start off by saying this, the holding call on James Bradberry late in the fourth quarter is correct. This is textbook holding. The video evidence is undeniable. Even Bradberry himself said the call was correct.
"It was a holding. I tugged his jersey. I was hoping they would let it slide," Bradberry told reporters after the game. There you have it! Case closed! Well, not quite.
Sports pundits began spouting off on Twitter. Colin Cowherd showed his disdain for the timing of the call, saying "Hate that call. Not on this stage."
NFL Punter and College GameDay sounded off, adding "That ref making that holding call at that time at that stage at that game? Super Bowl? Huh? Huh?!... Hey refs - can't f---ing call that there. Okay? It's not about you. Now was there a hold? I guess. If you stop and go frame by frame, he had his hands on him, but nonetheless, at that stage? Come on! we were robbed of a potential overtime game in the Super Bowl!"
Bill Simmons tossed his hat in the ring for tweet of the night as well.
Of course. Of course the season was gonna be decided on a shit call. Of course. Of course. Of course,
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) February 13, 2023
Noted NFL enthusiast LeBron James also chimed in with his thoughts, tweeting, "His hand on his back had no effect on his route! This game was too damn good for that call to dictate the outcome at the end. Damn! By the way I have no horse in the race. Just my professional opinion."
Even on the Super Bowl broadcast, color commentator Greg Olsen expressed his dismay. "I don't know... I think on this stage, I think you let them play.I don't know, I think you let them play and finish this thing out. I don't love that call."
FOX Sports NFL Rules analyst Mike Pereira was right there to add his two cents to Olsen's thought, explaining, "I think you need to see the whole thing. It seemed to me at the initial break he grabbed the back of his jersey and pulled it. When we see that, I think that is a hold."
"It Always Appears To Be One Call"
While this call doesn't completely change the outcome of the game like some infamous ofificiating blunders have, it still left a sour taste in the mouths of Eagles fans. But, as head coach Nick Sirianni pointed out after the game, it's not just one holding call that loses a game.
"It always appears to be one call. ... That is not what it is. So many teams contribute to the result of the game. Today they were better," he said following the game.
It is impossible to say whether or not a no call on this play would have changed the outcome. However, to Sirianni's point, you can say that the Eagles gave up a 10-point lead in the second half as the Chiefs put up points on every possession in the second half. It always appears to be one call, one play or one mistake that loses a Super Bowl and that's just not true.
And Super Bowl LVII is the perfect example of that, whether you believe in letting the teams play or calling it like you see it.
MORE: Super Bowl LVII Plagued By Terrible Turf, Players Forced to Switch Shoes
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