Week 11 has not failed to disappoint NFL fans, folks. The primetime games were the real deal and two of the best matchups we’ve seen all year long. Monday Night Football featured a battle between the red-hot Carolina Panthers and an AFC power in the New England Patriots.
As the game went back and forth throughout, the game wound up being in the hands of Tom Brady on the last drive of the game with just about a minute to go and holding three timeouts in his back pocket. On a crucial fourth down, Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for a big-time conversion.
As the Patriots got another couple of catches and found themselves inside the Panthers’ 20-yard line, Brady and company ended up with one last shot to win the game down 24-20. On a play that will be talked about, plenty I’m sure, all week long, Brady fired the ball into the end zone to Gronkowski and it was picked off.
But wait, that wasn’t the end.
One official threw a flag as linebacker Luke Kuechly appeared to be hugging Gronkowski in the end zone prior to the pick. On one hand, the ball wouldn’t have been caught in the first place. However, in Brady’s defense, there was obvious contact and regardless of the interception it’s all about the principle. It’s about the rule — playing the game the right way, calling the game the right way.
The officials conferred after the play, and wound up taking back the flag and calling the game. Immediately, the referees headed straight to the tunnel in order to avoid any conversation with players or coaches. On the way off the field, Brady was shown live on camera screaming at an official using what looked like expletives in the process — and justifiably so.
Meanwhile, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was just all around thankful for the win in his interview following the game. Giving credit to not only his teammates but the Patriots, Newton showed class and humility as he dodged questions regarding how well he played.
Of course, you can’t have an ending like this without hearing from the most polarizing figure in modern-day post game press conferences.
“Last time I asked an official about a call, I guess, that was the wrong thing to do,” head coach Bill Belichick said in his post game press conference. “So, I don’t know. I didn’t get one (an explanation) tonight, didn’t get one at the Baltimore (Ravens) game. I guess that’s the way we do it.”
Belichick, obviously, whole-heartedly disagreed with the call, as do I. Regardless of the interception, Gronkowski had no opportunity to compete for the ball, thus a penalty would have been the right call.
Even more importantly, an explanation from the referee crew would have been nice also.