Pro Sports Weekly: Let’s Talk About Those Super Bowl Refs.

On February 7  the Tampa Bay Buccaneers destroyed the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 en route to Tom Brady’s seventh Lombardi Trophy.  However, the game has come under fire as the legitimacy of the refereeing has become a matter of conjecture

In a typical Super Bowl, referees normally let the more weak penalties slide in the spirit of “letting the boys play”.  This was not the case this year.  From the opening kickoff ,the flags didn’t seem to stop falling against the Chiefs.  The idea of the refs not throwing as many flags in the Super bowl is that they are supposed to be there to keep order, not determine the outcome of the game.

While NFL officials have often been accused of favoring Tom Brady, it isn’t fair to say that officiating cost the Chiefs this game.  But there were definitely several very weak calls that went in Tampa’s favor.  For instance, incidental contact with Mike Evans lead to a weak pass interference call that lead to a Tampa touchdown. This was a game-changing moment that’s not supposed to be in the hands of the refs.  Another example is when a very weak holding call against Kansas City eliminated a Brady-thrown interception.  The player in question barely touched the fouled Buccaneers receiver.

The Chiefs were going to lose this game, regardless, due to one of the worst offensive line performances I’ve ever seen, an inability from their receivers to get open and catch anything, and a sloppy defense that did deserve at least some of the fouls they caused. 

The point is, that by wiping out the legitimate Brady interception, calling two highly questionable PI calls, and calling a very weak holding penalty, the referees took out several opportunities that would have given the Chiefs the opportunity to make it a competitive game. 

So no, the game was not rigged.  But the refs did do what exactly what they’re not supposed to do– let crucial moments in the biggest game of the year be decided by the officials and not the players.