FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady spoke for football fans around the country when he vented on Twitter over the preponderance of penalties in Thursday night’s Tennessee Titans-Jacksonville Jaguars game.
Officials flagged a total of 15 infractions during the first half of that contest — including eight for offensive holding and one highly questionable roughing the passer call against Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II — prompting Brady to announce before halftime he was changing the channel.
Brady’s tweets quickly went viral — unsurprising given his fame and general aversion to making controversial remarks — even receiving a mention during NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” game broadcast. The quarterback had little to add to his comments on Friday, however.
Asked how he felt about the officiating in Titans-Jags, Brady replied: “I was just watching the game. It’s pretty self-explanatory, right?”
He added: “I don’t want to (comment further). I want to talk about the Jets.”
Despite lamenting about the game’s “ridiculous penalties,” Brady claimed he “didn’t say anything about the officiating.” Asked whether he received a reprimand from the NFL for criticizing officials on social media, he replied: “I didn’t criticize the officials!”
Brady later labeled himself as “very pro-ref.”
“The refs always do a good job,” he said. “They always do a great job. I never complain to the refs. Have you guys ever heard me complain to the refs? I don’t think I’ve ever complained to the refs. Maybe in the emotion, heat of the moment.”
Regardless of Brady’s actual thoughts on the matter, there’s no denying the uptick in penalties this season — and the skyrocketing of offensive holding calls. With the NFL identifying that particular foul as one of its officiating “points of emphasis” for 2019, the league has seen a 66 percent increase in holding penalties through two weeks and a 16.2 percent increase in total penalties, per ESPN Stats & Information.
Brady’s Patriots have been among the NFL’s least-penalized teams thus far with 15 total flags through two games. Only the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers (13 penalties apiece) have fewer.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images