Tom Brady said there were probably some holding calls that weren't called earlier in the Super Bowl but noted that the officiating crew didn't want to miss out on a call late in the game. With just less than two minutes left in the Super Bowl and the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles tied at 35 points apiece, the refs flagged Eagles cornerback James Bradberry for a holding on a third-down.
The penalty gave the Chiefs a chance to pretty much milk the clock and kick a game-winning field goal. After the game, many fans were furious because they felt that the officiating crew wasn't consistent in their officiating and that they weren't throwing flags for the same type of situation earlier in the game.
Brady on the call that basically ended the Super Bowl
“Well it’s always, I think, easier not to call it. The hard one is when you do call it because there’s a lot of scrutiny with that call. And I think the point is at least from a receiver/DB standpoint, if you’re not gonna cover him, let’s say, within the letter of the law and you’re gonna tug at him, you can impede the receiver from where he wants to go and create an almost impossible throw-and-catch by the quarterback.
And at the same time on the other side of the ball, if the receiver pushes off, there’s really nothing the DB can do in order to make the play. So, you know, those plays come up all the time. In every part of the game, they could be called.
So the fact that it just comes down to that one moment—I’m sure there were lots of other holds that were let go. There was probably a few that they called and in the end you just have to, you know, the ref is trying to do the best that he could do.
So I don’t get caught up too much on one call. I think I’ve been in sports long enough where I realize there’s a lot of things that impact the game and one referee’s call, yeah it’s important but, you know, the referees are doing the best they could do and they’re not robots either," Brady said on the Let's Go!
podcast, per Sports Illustrated. After the game, Bradberry admitted that he did hold JuJu Smith-Schuster. However, fans were still unhappy, mainly because they felt that the same officiating crew wasn't flagging players in that type of situation earlier in the game.