Quarterback Tom Brady dramatically changed his tone and demeanor from the moment he was leaving the playing field on Monday night until the time he stepped to the post-game podium. Perhaps for good reason.
The sight of tight end Rob Gronkowski being mugged at the back of the end zone by linebacker Luke Kuechly coupled with a flag thrown but then picked up created the visceral sense that the Pats had been screwed. Brady displayed that mindset by chewing out referee Clete Blakeman as both were leaving the field.
Still, the final outcome fell into the gray area of “uncatchable” discretion, either because Gronkowski failed to stop at the goal line or because Brady badly underthrew his oversized tight end.
There’s a chance Gronkowski simply ran the wrong route. There’s also a chance that Brady simply didn’t deliver the ball where it should have been. If, for example, the pass had hit Kuechly in the back as he was getting intimately acquainted with Gronkowski, it would have been a no-brainer. But with Robert Lester undercutting Gronkowski’s path to the goal post and intercepting a pass that Gronkowski could have gotten only if he’d gotten around Kuechly and through Lester, the chances of a no-call increased.
So while the football-watching world continues to debate whether the pass was indeed uncatchable, let’s not forget that, unless Gronk simply ran the wrong route, one guy could have made the pass a lot more catchable. But he seems to be getting a pass for that.