Super Bowl fans suffer punishment (especially Eagles fans) – Orange County Register

Editor’s note: This is the Monday 13th February edition of the Game Day with Kevin Modesti newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

The day after the Super Bowl, it’s hard not to think about the penalty kick that helped the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 by scoring a late field goal. How think about it? Read more below.

First some other news:

Not even the Eagles are claiming that the Chiefs were undeserved winners of Super Bowl LVII yesterday in Glendale, Arizona. The Eagles controlled the ball, but once the Chiefs had it, they led at 6.4 to 5.8 yards per play, usually a telling stat. The Chiefs are perfectly legit, with coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes leading their second championship in four years.

Deep in Eagles’ territory, the Chiefs had to continue with a field goal after Mahomes’ 26-yard run with a sore ankle, even if the flag wasn’t raised for the defensive hold against cornerback James Bradberry when Mahomes’ pass landed in the end zone well behind wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (Long Beach Poly, USC) in third place and 8 of 15 with 1:52 on the clock.

But the penalty changed the endgame by giving the Chiefs first place on the 11. After Jerick McKinnon’s 9-yard rush, Mahomes was able to kneel down twice to run down the clock before Harrison Butker scored a 27-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining.

Without the penalty, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts would have had at least a minute and a half to attempt a field goal for a tie or a touchdown, and fans would have enjoyed a chance for another twist in an entertaining Super Bowl between the Footballs two best teams.

Bradberry partially defused the controversy by saying after the game that the penalty was legitimate: “It was a hold. I tugged at his jersey. I was hoping they would let it slide.”

But can you partially defuse a bomb?

By then, social media was rife with mockery over the call, which was the only standing call against a team’s offense or defense throughout the game.

The reaction was fueled by Fox TV analyst Greg Olsen’s narration of the replay, which focused on Bradberry’s light contact with the back of Smith-Schuster’s jersey, not pulling the jersey.

‘They’ll say he grabs him. He has his left hand on his back. I don’t know,” said Olsen. “Listen, I think on this stage you let them play.”

(The piece begins at 15:40 of these highlights.)

Whether the call was right or wrong is in the eye of the beholder, and perhaps whether the viewer was watching on TV or at State Farm Stadium.

It’s interesting that the first reports of Super Bowl games published online last night by the Associated Press and at least several major newspapers didn’t even mention the penalty, suggesting there was nothing unusual for reporters watching with their own eyes seemed to get the, well, benefit of TV commentary.

On the other hand, one of the angry tweets about the call came from LeBron James, one of the many celebrities watching at the stadium yesterday.

“His hand on his back didn’t affect his route! This game was too damn good for this call to dictate the outcome at the end. Damned! By the way, I don’t have a horse in the race. Just my professional opinion,” LeBron wrote.

“Professional,” perhaps because James knows all about bad decisions, having blown up two weeks ago when NBA umpires missed a foul on his missed layup late in a Lakers loss in Boston.

Like the no call in that Lakers game, the holding call in the Super Bowl was not testable under league replay rules.

Which may be a perfectly valid policy, but ends up punishing the fans.

Fifty years ago, when television was fuzzy and camera angles were low, it was hard to tell if Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception should have lasted in a postseason game.

Now, with the benefit of high-definition television showing us exactly what happened most of the time, and repeat reports correcting officials’ mistakes in many cases, we expect objective truths about narrow decisions.

Yesterday we instead stuck with the suspicion that someone did something wrong. Had the officials made a mistake with the call? Was Greg Olsen wrong in encouraging dissent? Could Bradberry himself be somehow wrong in admitting his guilt?

Fans rightly regret that we’ll never know what would have happened in the minute and a half Hurts and the Eagles didn’t get.

Clearly the solution is to force ourselves to believe that the decision was right and to go back and look at the ending of the Super Bowl as if it happened exactly how it should have. Forget the Hurts-led drama we missed. Focus on the Mahomes-led drama we got.

You do that and tell the rest of us if you’re happy.


  • lakers Visit Portland with LeBron James (ankle), who has missed the last two games, listed as doubtful (7pm, SPSN).
  • kings go in a home game against the Sabers in a three-way tie for second in the Pacific Division, three points behind Vegas (7:30 p.m. BSW).


The newsletter asked: Are they kings really, as they are three points behind first place in the Pacific Division but have given up more goals than they scored?

Twitter user Robert Woo (@drbob512) replied: “The kings are real if you consider the teams in the top 8-12 in the league to be real. The question is whether they can be in the top 5-6 in the league without an excellent goalkeeper. They can if they improve a lot at LHD (left-handed defender).”


Should the Eagles’ defensive penalty come near the end of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win? Share your thoughts by email ( or on Twitter (@KevinModesti).


“Hard way to end such a great game.” – Tarek Fattal (@Tarek_Fattal) after the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win with a controversial penalty against the Eagles.

1,000 WORDS

Champions again: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes runs off the sidelines as time runs out, and his Chiefs win the Super Bowl for the second time in four years by beating the Eagles near Phoenix yesterday. Photo by Ezra Shaw for Getty Images.


Thank you for reading the newsletter. Send suggestions, comments and questions to via email and @KevinModesti on Twitter.

Editor’s Note: Thank you for reading the Matchday with Kevin Modesti newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here. Super Bowl fans suffer punishment (especially Eagles fans) – Orange County Register

Russell Falcon

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