By Tim Peterson
20 years from now people will be talking about how Tom Brady played in his tenth Super Bowl in 2021 and won his seventh. There will be no mention of the words “rigged” or “fixed”, just that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the game.
And they did. Would they have won had the Kansas City Chiefs not been called for 90 yards worth of penalties in the second quarter and 120 overall for the game? More than likely yes. But as people are fond of saying now, the optics were bad. It just didn’t look right.
If you see the video we posted below entitled “Even Brady is Smiling” it’s laid out for you pretty well. The first holding call on Bashaud Breeland was clearly not a hold. That kind of hand fighting goes on all the time. It should not have been called. Then Chiefs lineman Chris Jones was hit with unnecessary roughness when he pushed a Tampa Bay lineman after he was shoved by the same lineman. It was simple. It was either offsetting penalties or no call. Brady loved that one as he cracked a big smile.
Next Tyrann Mathieu’s interception was nullified on a holding call on Charvarius Ward. There was nothing there. Again, it should have been a non call. Instead of a possible game changing turnover the Bucs retained possession.
But no, there was more. Tampa Bay kicked a field goal but the Chiefs were lined up offside. Maybe they were but the officials had the number wrong on who was offside.
Next Breeland was called for pass interference when Mike Evans tripped on a pass that was uncatchable. Evans tripped and fell down the field when their feet got tangled up but that was ignored.
And finally the “Golden Boy”, Tom Brady, got another call when he hurled the ball a good ten feet over Evans’ head in the end zone. Of course, another PI call, this one on Mathieu and the Bucs went on to score right before halftime for a 21-6 lead. Game, set, match.
What the video didn’t show was maybe the most blatant missed call of all. Brady and Mathieu got into it and a couple of words were exchanged before Mathieu began to jog away. Brady chased after Mathieu and continued to talk trash, yes chased after as the footage is perfectly clear. However it’s Mathieu who was nailed with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. It didn’t cost the Chiefs anything but it was symbolic of the way the entire game went.
Don’t believe it? Brady even admitted it in an apology text to Mathieu after the game.
In the second half the Chiefs never came back. of course they didn’t. At that point they were so frustrated with every call going against them that they were devastated.
Again would Kansas City have won if the calls had gone differently? Probably not but the truth is nobody knows. The game would have been much closer at halftime which would have meant the Chiefs game plan would have been different in the second half as well.
Brady got the calls now, maybe someday it will be Mahomes’ turn. Sure the Tampa Bay defense was great and Brady is the GOAT. But on Sunday, in Super Bowl LV, he had some help.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tspeterson40, or on Facebook Tim Peterson.