The entire football world was stunned last night, when an obvious holding call wasn’t made on the final play in the Carolina Panthers 24-20 win over the New England Patriots. With three seconds remaining and the Pats down four, Tom Brady let a pass fly down the middle, intended for tight end Rob Gronkowski. It was intercepted by Robert Lester, however it was clear that linebacker Luke Kuechly was holding Gronk in the back of the end zone. There was a flag thrown, but it was later picked up and the game was declared final. This did not go over well with the Patriots, particularly quarterback Tom Brady, who had a few choice words for the officials as he trotted off the field.
Referee Clete Blakeman defended his crew picking up the flag in this pool report, with ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss present, as well as the Charlotte Observer’s Joseph Person.
Blakeman states in this report, that “it was determined at that point in time that when the primary contact occurred on the tight end that the ball, in essence, was coming in underthrown and in essence it was immediate at that point intercepted at the front end of the end zone. So there was a determination that, in essence, uncatchability, that the ball was intercepted at or about the same time the primary contact against the receiver occurred.”
I know that a lot of people disagree with the stance that Blakeman and his crew took, and many think that it may have cost New England a win. But what has been done can’t be changed, and I hope that the Patriots are already moving onto their colossal matchup with the Denver Broncos this Sunday Night.