Another week, another come from behind win by the New England Patriots. But wait, no way we could forget to credit the golden child, Tom Brady. It seems for the past few weeks Brady has had major come from behind wins against the likes of the New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, and now the Cleveland Browns. Fans of the NFL know how great and legendary he is, but sometimes as the “golden child,” and the key word being child, he gets spoiled.
Quarterbacks are the “poster boys” of the NFL and are protected more than any other position. Players such as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and even Eli Manning get their fair share of calls by the referees. It could be from a defensive player supposedly driving them into the ground when it is just a textbook tackle. Perhaps it’s a late hit when the player was just trying to gather himself or the infamous ” too high or low” hit. It is pure blasphemy.
However, it seems that the Patriots are a part of more controversial calls than any other team. It all started with the ” tuck rule” playoff game back in 2002 against the Oakland Raiders. That rule had not been previously used in years, but it was in the biggest game of the year for both teams. And then the “SpyGate” scandal in 2007 which allegedly had the Patriots videotaping the New York Jets‘ practices. They got reprimanded for these accusations, but it just did not seem like enough.
Teams and players have also noticed that when facing the Patriots they always seem to be a step ahead of every play before it happens. Former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward had mentioned how it seemed like New England knew what was coming before they could even make adjustments. Just recently Antonio Smith, a defensive lineman for the Texans, mentioned how the Patriots seemed to know all of their sets and plays.
However, in usual NFL and Patriots fashion, the accusations were ridiculed and swept under the rug. Paging Roger Goodell. In Week 11 against the Carolina Panthers, there was a controversial call towards the end of the game. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly allegedly held on to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as Brady was trying to throw him a touchdown in the end zone.
The refs surprisingly swallowed the whistle and did not call interference on Kuechly. The call did not go the Patriots’ way and the Panthers won the game. The four letter network and Patriot fans were up in arms about it. The call went against New England, therefore it should have been a penalty on Carolina. That’s how some Patriot fans and apologists are. It’s nauseating. However, besides the terrible “tuck rule” call in 2002, there was a worse call in last Sunday’s game against the Browns. With 35 seconds left in the game, Brady heaved the ball up in the air targeting receiver Josh Boyce, who was covered closely by Browns defensive back Leon McFadden.
Boyce ran into the corner of the end zone with McFadden on him. The ball fell to the turf along with Boyce and McFadden right next to it. With the game on the line and the Browns’ playoff chances, referee Jerome Boger threw the flag for pass interference. It gave the Patriots the ball on the one-yard line, and they scored to win the game 27-26. A lot of fans have said that if halfback Fozzy Whittaker catches the onside kick the situation is completely avoided.
Unfortunately, it came down to that and it was wrong. Former head referee Mike Pereira even said they got the call wrong. It just goes to show that the Patriots get a free pass in the NFL and with the referees, especially with a play that obvious.