Referees shouldn’t make or break a game

Garner Province, Staff Writer

With the National Football League (NFL) playoffs ending, the Super Bowl begins. For some people, the commercials and the halftime show are what they wait for. But for others the two teams battling it out for the highest honor a NFL team can earn is always a long awaited and exciting game to watch. This year, the Super Bowl was between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. A this is the first time that brothers play against each other in a Super Bowl game. At the end of the biggest game of the year, a call from the referee changed the trajectory of the game. 

Late in the 4th quarter, James Bradberry IV, Eagles’ defensive back, received a holding call when he was trying to defend Chiefs’ wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. This completely changed the game, especially at the time of the game when it was called. He should not have received this call this late in the game. If Bradberry did not receive the call, the Eagles would’ve had a chance to win the game, instead of having a 5-yard penalty, and an automatic first down. 

Two weeks before the Super Bowl, the Eagles were projected to defeat the Chiefs by two points and 12 of Entertainment and Sports Programming Network’s (ESPN’s) best NFL analysts, writers, and reporters made their early predictions for the Super Bowl game. Eight of them chose the Eagles, and the other four chose the Chiefs.   

Despite being considered as underdogs, the Chiefs still came out with the victory over the Eagles. In a very close game, they made a late comeback in the 4th quarter. This was one of the more high-scoring games and one of the best Super Bowls in years. At the end of the game the Chiefs came back and won 38-35. 

Aside from Hurt’s impressive game, the call towards the end of the game stirred up some controversy. The debate is as follows: would JuJu Smith-Schuster have caught the ball even if Bradberry didn’t hold him/tug his jersey? The call was made because Bradberry held on JuJu’s jersey which limited him from making any type of play. In my opinion, JuJu would have had to make a very acrobatic play to even be close to the ball. The ball was overthrown and even if Bradberry didn’t hold, I don’t know if JuJu would have caught the ball in the first place.

The other, more simple question for this holding call: was it even holding? As a football fan watching the game, it didn’t look like much of a holding call during the live play. Mainly because NFL Referees wouldn’t call this in a normal Regular Season game, but to call it with less than 2 minutes in the biggest NFL game of the year, is definitely something that will be a controversy to anyone who watched the Super Bowl. In the locker room after the game, Bradberry was asked what he thought about the holding call. He responded, “It was holding. I tugged his jersey. I was hoping they would let it slide.”  This should not have been called holding. Yes, the player technically did “hold” on the Chiefs’ reciever’s jersey, but the ball would never have been caught in the first place. Meaning, the call should not have been made if it would not have affected the play. Casey Beard, freshman, had some thoughts as a Chiefs fan watching the game. 

“Well I mean he was obviously holding him. I don’t know why they tried to argue it. The player himself admitted that it was holding. Can’t argue with the player. It was a holding call, granted it did help us out a lot because Mahomes did overthrow that ball, like crazy, but we got the call so we were able to redo the play to let us get that touchdown,” Beard said.

While the call against Bradberry IV was the most noticeable, and a big conversation maker, there was another call that was a big conversation maker. 

“I feel like that one play earlier where [Miles Sanders] fumbled and [Nick Bolton] picked it up and ran to the end zone, that should not have been taken back. He clearly caught the ball, got hit and dropped it. I don’t know why they didn’t call that a fumble,” Beard said.

Even though the referees can make a few bad calls, this year’s Super Bowl was a very enjoyable and exciting game.

“I mean at the end of the day, it was a great game, Eagles played their hardest, but Mahomes is just better, he’s that guy, and we lost him, you know, we went to halftime then he came back, but him coming back helped us win, and getting that super bowl.” 

It’s impressive for a team to come back in the Super Bowl against the number one ranked team in the nation. Especially when down by two scores at halftime. While the game was very entertaining, the referees made some shaky calls for both teams, refs could make way better calls if they thought about the situation of the game, and if the call would be made in a regular season game or not. Referees should start thinking how it would affect the game going forward, making the game more enjoyable and fair for both the players and the viewers.