Don’t ask me how many yards or touchdowns Jalen Hurts ran for or how many yards Patrick has Mahomes threw a forehand. Referee crew for Super Bowl LVII they put on one of the all-time best collective performances of “I Am Him” in league history on Sunday night. Their profound impact on the game was felt in all four quarters and proved crucial in deciding the world champion. What could have been a hard-hitting thriller with an ending was grounded by the forensics team stealing the show with calls that appeared to be made by a picky IRS accountant.
I need an example of why so many desperate fans latched onto him (farcical) part of Arian Foster about submitting the script? This Super Bowl gave the masses plenty to eat. Two weeks after a harshly awarded a penalty to Joseph Ossai handed the Chiefs their third AFC title in four years, James Bradberry’s hold call felt like something out of a Chiefs fan’s deus ex machina script edit where the officials come to the rescue.
The refs were bad all night
This calls weren’t so much aimed at the Chiefs, they just sucked the air out of the room. Meticulous catch inspections and yellow flags are dopamine killers. We’d be better off if Rihanna performed Pon de Replay on her glass stage between every stoppage of play by the officials as a distraction because when zebras take center stage, we all lose.
Unlike past Super Bowls, who had unforgettable endings that manifested themselves from human error or excellent athletic feats or game-called moxy, Super Bowl LVII was the ChatGPT Bowl. Catches were decided by formula instead of common sense. Officials have done the tedious job of rooting out spontaneity.
On 2nd and 1, the ball at the Kansas City 48 with a minute left in the first half, Jalen Hurts dropped back, threw a perfectly placed ball over DeVonta Smith’s right shoulder. Smith, tripped out of bounds while nailing the ball with his helmet, and L’Jarius Sneed collapsed on top of him.
G/O Media may receive a commission
If that play had stopped, the Eagles would have been in position at 13 to add a field goal to their lead. Instead, the officials ruled that Smith’s catch was not a catch even under the strictest possible letter of the law. In any other sport, Smith’s catch is a memorable feat, but for some reason the officials calculated that the negligible movement of the ball when he made contact with the field a second later negated Smith’s spectacular haul.
Not all referees were bad for the Eagles, though. After halftime, they also called a clear catch-and-fumble by Miles Sanders incompletion, despite the hit he took before getting gutted and putting the ball on the grass. And that call was cancelled and, instead of giving up seven points to the Eagles, they cut back and put seven on their own score.
Later in the third quarter, the coin flips to Dallas Goedert on the sidelines it was ruled a catch despite being bobbed before establishing infield position. Still, the precedent set earlier in the Smith and Sanders calls dictated that Goedert’s fumbled “catch” should have been an incompletion. The officials were nothing if not equal in their faults. But the lack of consistency about what the catch was remains puzzling.
Call Waiting by James Bradberry
However, nothing defined the night as much as the call to James Bradberry that handed the Super Bowl to Harrison Butker. Clerks keep missing calls. Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown got away with holding Bengals pass rusher Trey Hendrickson on the final offensive play of the AFC Championship. They especially have a habit of allowing holding calls that have a negligible effect on play go.
Mahomes pass was so far in the end zone that JJ Smith-ScHuster never had a chance. Head official Carl Cheffers explained after the game: “The receiver went in and he was trying to let it out. The defender caught the jersey with his right hand.”
However, it was a speeding ticket for going 75 in a 65 mph zone that decided the Super Bowl. Compared to the career-defining plays of Aaron Donald and Cooper Cupp in Super Bowl LVI or the Philly Special, this was a dud. The flag denied the Eagles a chance to participate in the winning fight and ended the drama in anticlimactic fashion. The finishes of the AFC and NFC championship games exacerbated the lack of tension. The NFL Super Bowl production was perfectly choreographed from the multiple openers to halftime. Unfortunately, his most influential games were decided by the wrong team.