Former NFL official Terry McAulay officiated three Super Bowl games during his referee career from 1998-2017.
Tonight, he took to Twitter to note a peculiar anomaly in the way Super Bowl LV is being called. McAulay identified a significant disparity between the way pass interference is being called tonight and the way it had been all season.
“It’s very unusual to see the Super Bowl called significantly tighter in the passing game than the way it’s been called in the regular season,” McAulay wrote. “But there is no question that was true in the first half.
It’s very unusual to see the Super Bowl called significantly tighter in the passing game than the way it’s been called in the regular season. But there is no question that was true I. The first half.
— Terry McAulay (@SNFRules) February 8, 2021
In the first half, the Chiefs’ eight penalties (95 yards) heavily outweighed the Bucs’ one (5 yards).
Two major pass interference calls against Kansas City right before halftime were by far the most controversial.
With less than a minute remaining, Tom Brady aired out a ball downfield to Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans. The speedy wideout was tripped from behind and drew a penalty well into the redzone. On the following play, Evans drew another pass interference call on Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu. On a ball that many felt was uncatchable, Mathieu was called for a slight push on the Bucs’ receiver.
This ball is impossible to catch. pic.twitter.com/lbnyC9yVvG
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) February 8, 2021
After this crucial call, Brady connected with Antonio Brown on a one-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 21-6 before the half.
Now midway through the third quarter, the penalty disparity still leans 8-1 in favor of the Bucs. Tampa Bay currently leads 31-9.