It’s the second time this NFL season that the New England Patriots lost a game in which a controversial call — or non-call in this case — by an official late in the game made a difference.
NFL Monday night’s officials determined there was no chance for Rob Gronkowski to catch the last pass thrown by Tom Brady. The rule in question is the following:
Rule 8, Section 5, Article 3 Permissible Acts
Article 3 Permissible Acts by both teams while the ball is in the air. Acts that are permissible by a player include, but are not limited to:
(c) Contact that would normally be considered pass interference, but the pass is clearly uncatchable by the involved players, except as specified in 8-3-2 and 8-5-4 pertaining to blocking downfield by the offense.
A throw from Tom Brady to tight end Rob Gronkowski was intercepted as time expired in regulation, even when Gronkowski appeared to be held by Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly.
A flag was thrown on the play, but after conferring with his group of officials, referee Clete Blakeman announced that there was not in fact a penalty, waving off the flag.
The 24 year-old Gronkowski was asked whether he felt he was held on the play, responding, “I’ve gotta rewatch, but if you saw that, then I would say yeah.”
After the game, Blakeman let everyone know he defended his crew’s decision, saying the original call was pass interference but that Gronkowski’s distance from the ball rendered the penalty moot.
According to New England’s coach Bill Belichick he did not receive an explanation of the non-call from officials, saying, “I saw what you saw.”
YouWager bettors notices how Brady had a heated exchanged with officials as he left the field following the game’s conclusion but said postgame he didn’t get any explanation from the refs.
The star quarterback was sorry that the final decision came down to one final play.