The Green Bay Packers’ season was all but ended by a defensive pass interference call on a massive third down play for Tampa Bay in Sunday’s NFC Championship game.
With a 1:40 left on the clock and no timeouts remaining for Green Bay, Brady lobbed a ball over the middle for Bucs wideout Tyler Johnson. Packers defensive back Kevin King looked to play decent coverage until both players got tangled up and tumbled to the turf.
After a long pause, the referees finally threw a flag on the play for pass interference. Replay showed that King gave a slight tug to the back of Johnson’s jersey before they went down.
A very late flag to basically lock up the NFC title for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. pic.twitter.com/VZeXaIHuQS
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) January 24, 2021
By rule, the call may have been correct. But, based on the way the referees called PI the rest of the game — this play easily could’ve been let go. Earlier in the first half, Tampa Bay’s Sean Murphy-Bunting got away with a similar jersey pull on his interception of Aaron Rodgers.
It’s tough to see the officials abandon their precedents, especially at such a critical juncture of the game.
Unsurprisingly, Green Bay fans everywhere were furious about the call.
Refs don’t call this. Bucs INT and score before half. Packers same hold on jersey and they make the call. Pack beat themselves all game but this was a big play. pic.twitter.com/y2MlDUsCxY
— chad leaman (@chadleaman10) January 24, 2021
ZERO pass interference calls in this game. AND the refs give it to the BUCS on the game winning drive. Looking at my cute 5 month old daughter so I don't punch my TV
— ThatsGoodSports (@BrandonPerna) January 24, 2021
NOW they decide to call pass interference?
— Aaron Schatz 🏈 (@FO_ASchatz) January 24, 2021
There’s no doubt the defender was holding the jersey and therefor a good call. However, it’s an issue in the League. Some measure of consistency in what the hell is pass interference no matter how much time is on the clock! 🤦♂️🏈
— Tim Brando (@TimBrando) January 24, 2021
Pass interference suddenly exists again, and the game is over. That seems fair.
— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) January 24, 2021
Only one of these was called for pass interference lol pic.twitter.com/r2aAgPSYID
— jacob (@jacob36992777) January 24, 2021
Sure, maybe Packers fans have the right to complain about the refs’ consistency on PI calls throughout the game — but Green Bay did everything they could to put themselves in this position.
On the previous drive, coach Matt LaFleur elected to kick a field goal on 4th-and-goal with 2:05 left in the game. Instead of potentially getting a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion, the kick only drew the lead to 31-26.
With the clock winding down and the ball in Tom Brady’s hands, the game was all but over after that questionable decision. Now, in his first year with the Bucs, Brady is headed to his 10th Super Bowl appearance.
Tampa Bay with face the winner of tonight’s AFC Championship game between the Bills and Chiefs.