Grady Jarret was called for a questionable roughing the passer against Tom Brady.
Julio Aguilar via Getty Images

A Questionable Roughing The Passer Call Works to Tom Brady's Advantage Once Again


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While much of the country is talking about an impending divorce, the NFL's referees decided they would give us something else to debate over our pizza, wings and beer on Sunday.

In a surprisingly competitive matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, referee Jerome Boger did something many refs have done, particularly in the latter part of Tom's career.

Jerome Boger Threw A Very Soft Flag

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I get it. We need to protect the quarterback, but Grady Jarret's third-down sack with just over three minutes to go looked clean to me. And it should have given the Falcons the ball back with a chance to tie the game on one last drive. Instead, officials took the game out of Atlanta's hands and put it right back in Tom Brady's. So, Tampa kept the ball, got a first down instead of needing to punt it away, and ran down the clock to win it 21-15.

This is one of those penalties that may be too subjective. The reasoning behind its existence is of course to make sure malicious tackles aren't injuring the quarterback. But sometimes the way the officials "interpret" this seems akin to match-fixing. Now, it's apparent throughout the league, but the light shines brightest when it involves Tom Brady. He always seems to get these calls, whether they're warranted or not. It's as if a percentage of his game-day check goes to those in black and white stripes.

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Boger's explanation of the latest call in favor of Brady was that Jarrett unnecessarily threw him to the ground, but it looked clean to me and to many others watching the game. I got so many texts in the vein of "here we go again." Haven't the Falcons suffered enough by Brady's hand?

Uneven Officiating Taints the Game of Football

Grady Jarrett #97 of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter of the game

Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

If we back it up even further in this game, Tom Brady kicked at Jarrett after the sack. And he also did so after a tackle earlier in the game. But there was no call either time. This type of uneven officiating is exactly why some folks question the integrity of the game.

How was Grady Jarrett supposed to make that tackle? He's coming in on an angle, wraps his arms around Brady's waist and pulls him to the ground. Isn't that textbook tackling? Or is there something I'm missing here? While many in the league equally respect but can't stand the guy, it sure seems like the main goal is to see how long he can play by detracting defenders from making a tackle on him. Which, is the antithesis of the game isn't it?

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The Falcons were robbed. Whether they would have been able to drive and win the game at the end, I have no idea. But they were stripped of the opportunity to do so. All because, once again, Tom Brady got a call that nearly everyone else under center would not have gotten.

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