Even neutral observers were furious over the ticky-tack penalty that handed the Chiefs a victory in Super Bowl LVII.
With 1:54 remaining and the score tied, Eagles cornerback James Bradberry was flagged for defensive holding on Kansas City wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The borderline call wiped out a third-down incompletion and allowed the Chiefs, who already had driven into Philadelphia’s red zone, to run the clock down toward zero.
Harrison Butker’s 27-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining gave the Chiefs a 38-35 win and their second Super Bowl title in four years.
The controversial Bradberry penalty, which occurred four days after commissioner Roger Goodell declared that NFL officiating has never been better, prompted an outcry on social media, with several current and former New England Patriots players among those voicing their displeasure.
Ex-Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower called the flag “bs.” Retired receiver Julian Edelman tweeted that officials “absolutely cannot make that call there.” Safety Adrian Phillips summed up his feelings with a five-word message: “Bro you can’t call that.”
The anticlimactic finish capped an otherwise fantastic championship game at State Farm Stadium, with Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes rallying the Chiefs back from a 10-point halftime deficit. Kansas City scored on all four of its second-half possessions as the two No. 1 seeds combined for 73 points.