Jesse James can sleep a little easier since the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII earlier this month.
That’s because the Pittsburgh Steelers tight end now won’t be a main character in the Patriots’ latest championship DVD.
James, as you might recall, was at the center of a Week 15 controversy involving the Patriots and Steelers. He caught what looked like a go-ahead touchdown pass in the closing moments of the teams’ pivotal matchup, only to have the call reversed because officials (controversially) determined the ball moved as he reached out and extended it across the goal line. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger then threw an interception two plays later and the Patriots won, giving New England the inside track on home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
A much-anticipated playoff rematch between the teams never occurred because the Steelers lost their divisional round matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who then lost to the Patriots a week later in the AFC Championship Game. But “the catch” — or lack thereof — still lingered in James’ mind as New England marched toward the Super Bowl.
“It’s brought up all the time,” James recently told the Centre Daily Times’ Josh Moyer. “Anytime you talk football, it’s going to be brought up — especially the weeks that followed it. There were a bunch of controversial calls, and it kept going. It’s just the way that happened.”
“I don’t feel like I gave them a Super Bowl with that,” the tight end added of the Patriots. “So I’m over it now, but it’s going to be a topic of conversation until the rule gets changed — or it doesn’t.”
Things might have shaken out much differently in the playoffs had James’ Week 15 “catch” against the Patriots stood as a touchdown. The Steelers would’ve had home-field advantage by virtue of the No. 1 seed and a divisional round matchup with the Tennessee Titans rather than the Jaguars. Perhaps that would’ve been enough for Pittsburgh to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LII.
What we do know for a fact, however, is New England wasn’t able to successfully secure its sixth Super Bowl title. And James is more than OK with that.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images