Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots once again are going back to the Super Bowl, which, of course, means they either had to have cheated or received help from their friends in the black-and-white shirts.
The Patriots, as you know, defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 37-31, in overtime to advance to their third consecutive Super Bowl and ninth of the Brady-Belichick era.
Sunday’s game was filled with a number of momentum shifts, and the internet’s newest Patriots conspiracy theory is centered on the game’s biggest play.
With under a minute left to play and the Patriots trailing by four, Brady dropped back and threw a pass out wide to Rob Gronkowski. The pass clanged off the tight end’s giant hands and was picked off by Charvarius Ward, appearing to give the Chiefs the AFC title. Luckily for Brady and the Pats, Chiefs defensive end Dee Ford was lined up in the neutral zone on the play and the refs correctly threw the flag, giving the Patriots new life.
Enter the conspiracy theory.
After the game, Twitter user Abram Cartledge posted a video of the TV coverage from before the Patriots ran the play, and it shows referee Clete Blakeman walking into the huddle to tell Brady, “I’ve got your back.” And on the next play, Brady was picked off, but Ford was correctly flagged for being offsides.
You can see the video here.
The video has gained a lot of social-media traction because, well, people hate the Patriots and aren’t super sharp a lot of the time.
Now, back to Blakeman telling Brady he had his back.
On the previous play, Brady had completed a pass to Chris Hogan, and New England called a timeout. While the play was stopped, replay officials reviewed the play and determined Hogan didn’t catch the pass, making it incomplete. Since the pass was incomplete, the Patriots weren’t charged with their timeout. Blakeman went into New England’s huddle to inform Brady that he had indeed given the Patriots their timeout back, which is crucial at the late stage of the game.
There you have it, dumb conspiracy theory debunked.
Thumbnail photo via Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports Images