James Bradberry’s back-breaking defensive holding penalty in the final minutes of Super Bowl LVII triggered a wave of complaints from around the NFL world — but none from Bradberry himself.
Speaking with reporters at State Farm Stadium after the Philadelphia Eagles’ 38-35 loss to the Chiefs, Bradberry admitted he did hold Kansas City wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on the play in question.
“It was holding,” the Eagles cornerback said, via The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin. “I tugged on the jersey.”
Bradberry’s penalty wiped out a third-down incompletion and extended what proved to be the game-winning drive for Kansas City. The Chiefs were in field-goal range regardless, but the flag allowed them to drain nearly all of the remaining time off the clock before sending Harrison Butker onto the field for the deciding 27-yard kick.
Had the incompletion to Smith-Schuster stood, the Eagles likely would have gotten the ball back down three with about 1:40 remaining.
It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise stellar season for Bradberry, who was cut by the New York Giants last offseason and immediately made second-team All-Pro in his first year in Philadelphia. The 29-year-old ranked third in the NFL with 17 passes defended during the regular season and will be one of the top cornerbacks available when free agency opens March 15.