Ref Clete Blakeman dropped the ball by failing to explain non-call

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A great Monday Night Football game has been overshadowed by a controversial ending, as an apparent pass interference penalty against Carolina on the final play was initially called by one official — and then overruled, with no explanation from referee Clete Blakeman.

As Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s last-second pass to Rob Gronkowski was intercepted by Panthers safety Robert Lester in the end zone, back judge Terrence Miles threw his penalty flag, apparently to call Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly for pass interference. But after a brief conference between the officials in the end zone, referee Clete Blakeman announced that there wouldn’t be a penalty after all.

“There is no foul on the play. The game is over,” Blakeman said.

That explanation is totally unacceptable. Blakeman needed to explain why there was no foul on the play. Miles was in perfect position to see where Gronkowski was, where Kuechly was and where the ball was, and he believed Kuechly committed a penalty. Who overruled him, and why?

Blakeman didn’t answer that question. He also left the field quickly and didn’t appear to give Brady the explanation he wanted. Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in his tense post-game press conference that the officials ran off the field without telling him anything. Belichick noted that he’s previously been fined for grabbing an official at the end of the game to demand an explanation, and he didn’t want to do that again.

That previous incident Belichick alluded to came during one of the poorly officiated games by the replacement officials during the NFL’s lockout of the regular officials. Blakeman’s failure to explain the key ruling at the end of a great game was reminiscent of those replacement refs.

316 responses to “Ref Clete Blakeman dropped the ball by failing to explain non-call

  1. Game on the line 3 time out game on the line and what do you see? Multiple dirt balls, inaccurate throws when forced to throw over 5 YDS and a throw so BAD the refs couldn’t even call pass interference in the end zone when Gronk was get mauled by the safety. Another well managed game by the best game manager of all time. TOM BRADY
    Once again Tom Brady showed us what he is, TOM AVG.


  2. Wow, rooting for the Panthers but this call and action by the refs does not pass the sniff test. I imagine a suspension is in order for these refs!

  3. We have seen many calls at end of game with no explanation. Lets watch how Brady went after the refs, Goddel this again will show how one sided you are on fines, he deserves big fine for this un sportsman like activity. Then ESPN has Ray Ray say they as him needs to help the refs, would this be reviewed if it was Tampa playing Jacksonville.

  4. It was the right call IMO. There is no way Gronk could have gotten in front of the guy that picked it up and that is the standard. That would have been a gift to the Patriots if the flag wasn’t picked up and I think the NFL will say this was the right call. Why would you give a team the ball on the one yard line on a horrible throw that went right to another non-interfering defender?

  5. I didn’t want the Pats to win, but they got screwed on that call. And what was Gene Austin talking about? “It’s not a penalty because the ball was intercepted before it got to the receiver”? So if a DB punches the receiver on a back shoulder throw and then intercepts the ball it’s legal, because the DB intercepted it before the receiver could touch it? I don’t think so.

    I’m not saying the Pats deserved to win, but they did deserve one more play. It’s a shame such a great game (up until 59:57) was tarnished by that ending.

  6. I am not a Pats fan. Terrible call. Officials are deciding the outcome of games and deciding them very badly. How can the NFL hold it’s players to such a high standard yet let the refs do their jobs so poorly. It’s starting to look like a great thing has reached the peak and is on it’s way down fast.

  7. I hate to wonder, but did one of those refs have money on the game? Spread was 3, Panthers win by 4 when they should have called a penalty at the end.

  8. So neither the teams nor the fans deserve an explanation? No wonder there are so many conspiracy theories.

  9. At least an explanation of the penalty would’ve helped us fans at the end of the game instead of running off the freaking field at the end of the game…(yes I’m a Pat’s fan, sorry people)

  10. That was holding not interference. Gronk was backpedaling, the ball was thrown 4 yards short and the safety was coming across the field. No way he catches that.

    It should’ve been holding, ball moved 5 yards closer, and the Pats given another play.

  11. Don’t get me wrong, I’m giddy anytime the Patriots lose, but Gronk got straight up mugged in the end zone. As a fan of the game, I’d much rather see a Patriots loss that has some integrity, not on an awful, awful call like that. All the retired-officials-turned-broadcasters in the world can’t justify it, no matter how hard they’ve been trying since the game ended. He absolutely could have made a play on the ball if he’d been given the chance to plant his feet and come back for it.

  12. As a long suffering Phins fan, it was very pleasurable to see the Patriots finally have a call go against them.

    However, as a fan of the NFL, that call was ridiculous. Gronk was held and interfered with in the end zone, and the ref that was in position to make the call should have stood by the call. Poor officiating.

    Pats fan have every reason to be upset, but perhaps they can give themselves some solace and remember the tuck rule and spygate before creating a ruckus over this blown call.

  13. There was definitely contact… but it wasn’t illegal contact for the entire time. It isn’t a foul to just put your hand on somebody. By the letter of the law, when the LB starts hugging, it is a penalty. However, the ESPN announcers and everyone else are on crack if they think that Gronk could have planted his foot, changed his momentum and beat the DB to that badly under thrown ball even if the LB didn’t start to bear hug him. Does that mean it’s illegal contact instead of PI? I don’t know but I’m glad it wasn’t called because I feel that it didn’t change the outcome of the play. It was a bad throw.

  14. Hey! Isn’t that the ref that was used in that Seahawk-Packer game last year?
    Oh, my bad, that was those awful “sub” refs.

    Too bad the game ended this way. The Panthers can’t say that they shut the Pats down – not without ole Clete helpin ’em out.

  15. At the very least it’s defensive holding, RIGHT? RIGHT? Wow, that home cooking.

    Olsen hugging McCourty on 3rd and 7, getting defensive PI is another laugher.

  16. Not a Patriots fan, but was definitely a bad call. Hate to see a game end on a bad call. Would have been fun to see what would happen with 1 play from the 1.

  17. If this was, by rule, not pass interference, it was without question, defensive holding.
    I’m not a fan of either team but there’s no way the game can end on that play, obvious defensive holding.
    Too bad for the poor judgment of the refs; they didn’t “give” the win to Carolina, NE would have still had to earn it had the correct call been made.

  18. The ball wasn’t catchable. Remove kuechly from the play where the interference begins. There is no way gronkowski could have turned around and actually made any sort of play on that ball.

  19. It’s hard to have any sympathy for NE when they’ve been favored by so many bad calls over the years.

  20. .

    We, the fans, were deprived of a goal to go, one play game. Patriots offense vs Panthers defense, one yard, winner take all.

    Carolina still could have one.


  21. Say what you will about NE, and the chirpers certainly will.
    Tom put up a valiant effort until the last controversial play.
    It’s situations like these that he misses Welker, Hernandez and his other wide receivers.
    Let them enjoy the win, as it made their season. We won’t ever be seeing Carolina in January.
    It’s unfortunate Tom doesn’t have more control over
    Personnel decisions, letting Welker go at this point is the biggest hat decision to date.
    Lets just hope these young players don’t get down on themselves too much, and not believe they can’t still beat Denver, because they can.

  22. “the fact Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was tackling Rob Gronkowski in the back of the end zone”

    OH, the ball was intercepted. So Kuechly could have ripped Gronk’s helmet off and beat him with it and the game still would have ended. OK

  23. Get over it. Good and bad calls average out. The ball was short and even unimpeded Gronc couldn’t have comeback and gotten to where the ball landed. Brady is a great QB but the pass wasn’t there. Wahwah get over it. Can’t tell you how many calls have gone against us. It’s one win only and Newton’s drive was a great answer to a hard fought game. 🙂

  24. eh, i’m 50/50 on this. that’s PI 99% of the time, except the final play of the game. all you really need to see, is Gronk’s reaction. he barely got his head around by the time the ball was being intercepted, and his reaction after the play was one of dejection and wasn’t complaining about anything like you’d expect if he thought he was interfered with. that ball was underthrown – and in the air before Gronk was held. and in the end the hold did nothing to affect the actual play since he wasn’t going to be in the play anyway.

  25. P.I. call or not, how can people say Carolina got handed the W? They were leading most of the game and was up when it counted. Carolina D line was holding up well vs the Pats O line. The untimed down wouldn’t have been an easy score by any means

  26. No way close to what I would call a Pats fan, Hell I’m a Colts and Bears fan so that should tell you everything, but that last play gets a pass interference call 99% of the time, and we saw the one percent that it wasn’t. They was robbed but it couldn’t happen to a better victim!

  27. Another terrible call. Not as bad as that penalty on the Niners for a great hit on Smurf Brees.

    It’s real tough nowadays to figure out which way the refs will fix the game

  28. Just like in high school and just like in college, if you’re gonna make that cut you’d better do it, dont get pushed off your route. It was a good no-call and a good win for the Panthers, entertaining game all around

  29. All of the rules that the NFL had made the refs confused and it is ruining the game of football that we all love week in and week out!

  30. Pats were overmatched, plain and simple.
    Brady said in his press conference after game that his last throw/pick was a poor pass, didn’t place the ball well.
    And that is the truth of his last 3 years.

    Bad call or not, it was a bad throw.
    Karma too.

  31. I have a DVR.

    I stopped, slowed, and repeated the play marking where Gronkowski saw the ball and tried to change directions…. and by that time…. 3-4 yards in front of him Lester caught the ball.

    IF….. Gronk wasn’t impeded… he would have had to climb Lester’s back… JUST TO KNOCK THE BALL AWAY FROM HIM.

    Lester won the game.

    Brady screwed the pooch.

  32. Actually the “game he was alluding to” was against the ravens and no that was not a poorly officiated game. It just didn’t end how Bellichick wanted it to. Pretty sure you’re thinking of the Packers- Seahawks game.

  33. Panthers outplayed N.E. Deserved the win, but that doesn’t excuse that last play, nor the lack of an explanation by the head official.

  34. So is Gronlowski wasn’t interfered with, he would have been able to stop his momentum and run up 5 yards and stop the interception? Looked uncatchable to me regardless of the interference.

  35. Bear in mind that the PI call only puts the ball at the one. Pats would still have to punch it in. The ball was so badly underthrown and the wrap around happened as the ball was being picked. Good flag pick up.

  36. Wait, let’s review…they call interference when mccourty ‘somewhat’ grabbed Olsen and the ball was a good FIVE yards over olsen’s head on 3rd and 7 late on the panthers last drive which surely would have forced Carolina to kick a 40 plus yard tying fg, but they don’t call interference when kuechly has both arms around Gronk, his back to the play AND he’s riding him out of the back of the end zone preventing Gronk from making any move back to the ball…Olsen needed a ladder to reach that ball…I’m not a pats nor panthers fan…but clearly NE got screwed tonight…

  37. the thing that Belichek should be asked about, is why after having success in the run game, on 3rd and 1 on their penultimate drive, did they take a shot to the corner instead of running the ball with Blount. they settled for 3, and all non-PI calls aside, that was a big turning point in the game too.

  38. I am a Pats fan and Cam Newton and the Panthers outplayed and outlasted to the Pats. However, even if it is not PI, then there must be some sort of holding call right? In my opinion it comes to down the fact that in real time for the back judge, it was enough to throw the flag, so in his mind an infraction had occured.

  39. Everyone claiming that there was a bad call and that the refs handed the Panthers the game is an idiot. The fact that there was an interception in front of the penalty negated it, just like when the ball is tipped. If there was no interception or a play on the ball in front of the penalty then yeah, it would have been pass interference.

  40. Fixed! Line was set at 46.5 points with Carolina a 3 point favorite! Panthers cover winning by 4 and a 24-20 final keeps it under the 46.5 total points. That is why no call!!

  41. I am a Pats fan and while that could have been called a penalty and the refs screwed up by throwing a flag and picking it up, if they did call that a penalty, it would have been a total bailout for the Pats. That ball had no chance of being caught. The better team won on this night, although the Pats are playing with their 2nd and 3rd string defenders. The offense looked good and really diced up a good Carolina d in the 2nd half. If they can patch up the d, they may make a run….but if they dont do it quick, Manning will kill them next week.

  42. I hate the Patriots, Brady is the biggest baby wearing pads (and treated as such by the NFL) & I rejoice at the thought of them loosing. But I would prefer to see the Patriots win a game than see my Steelers win the way the Panthers did tonight! The illegitimacy of the NFL officiating is becoming more & more transparent with every passing game! Those pockets are lined with more than linen.

  43. That’s pass interference or at least defensive holding, even if the receiver is 20 yards away.

    If you listened to Al Michaels Sunday night, he said multiple times that the games between the Broncos and Chiefs would decide the Conference #1 seed. He did not say they would go a long way to decide it. He said IT WOULD decide it, even though Brady and the Pats were sitting there at 7-2 with a game in hand against Denver IN New England. What kind of logic is that? There were a few other messages like that in the broadcast, and even in advertising the upcoming Pats v Broncos game, Brady has been treated like the 6th round pick he was, and Manning the #1 pick he was, which I find amazing considering Brady’s vastly superior record in games that counted the most. I personally feel Michaels statements revealed what he knows to be true, i.e. there is an agenda in the league. Whether it is to market Manning, revive moribund franchises, or both, I think you can be reasonably sure Denver will win next weeks game. Why else would they make the Pats play a ROAD MNF football game the week before. The home team always has an advantage playing at home, unless you make them play on a short week, AND you make them travel (Denver has to travel but they get the extra day, negating the home field advantage). Then, they book ended the game for Denver with games against KC, which when the schedule was made, were thought to be cupcakes. That backfired, but you can clearly see how this could have been thought to be the best way to give Denver a bye before playing the Pats, and then giving them a game afterward that they would not be “looking ahead” to at all.

    The best thing the Patriots can do is to truly let this one go, get some rest, come back fresh and play as best they can. They’ve lost more than half their defense to injury and it’s largely some of the best players on the roster. Just let this go. THIS GAME CAN’T HELP NEXT WEEK, BUT IT CAN CERTAINLY HURT. L-E-T I-T GO!

    Glad to see them taking the high road after the game. What’s done is done. Now you know you have to play above and beyond and keep it away from the refs.

    Having said that, after what I saw tonight, I think you can wager the family fortune on Denver next week. Seriously. It’s a slam dunk. The fix is in.

  44. That call was absolutely butchered by whom ever overruled the Back Judge who had a crystal clear view of everything.

    And one can’t say a ball is “uncatchable” when the receiver is being absolutely mugged for every step from four yards deep in the end zone on.

    No dog in the fight here, but that game could have had one hell of an ending. Pats rally on walk-off touchdown — or Panthers show their mettle with game-deciding goal line stand.

    Instead, we got a clown show. Nice job, refs.

  45. Why are people whining? There were plenty of calls that went the Patriots way throughout the night, some coming on third and fourth down. Heck, there was a questionable PI call against Dobson on the final drive.

    My team played hard and we beat a great team. But let’s face it the refs were terrible all game long.

  46. Terrible call. If not pass interference, then definitely illegal contact to extend the game 5 yards closer for another shot!!

  47. Ya, it looked like really a bad call, but I would disagree that the refs gave the Panthers the game. What about the Ridley fumble in the red zone? The Pats had some missed opportunities. The Panthers just came out on top this time.

  48. Not a Pats fan or against the Panther but that was a bad call. Gronk would have had a chance to perhaps prevent the interception if not catch the ball. Not sure there would have been any time left though.

    Why not take a minute or two and have a booth review. After that, then explain why the flag was picked up. Kind of unsatisfying way to end my evening.

  49. As I’ve said before these guys are no better than the replacement refs. This year has been some of the worst officiating I’ve ever seen.

    But the Pats did lose.

  50. The Patriots were definitely robbed on that call and deserved a chance from the 1 yard line. They might have pulled off the miracle, or they might have been stopped. We’ll never know. That said, it’s not really the reason they lost the game. They lost the turn over battle because Ridley fumbled in FG range and the Panthers basically made no mistakes. That was a killer. No opportunistic plays by our defense. The Patriots also couldn’t stop Cam from running on two third down plays that would have stopped scoring drives. The Patriots also didn’t convert a third and 1 after a great driver and had to settle for 3. The Patriots only scored 3 points in the first half. If any one of those things were fixed the Patriots could have won the game. Great to be in it to the end and sucks to lose on a bad call, but it didn’t need to be that way.

  51. “If the ball is intercepted or knocked down prior to reaching the receiver, there is no foul for Pass Interference.” -NFL Rulebook.


    It’s really not that complicated.

    Can you also remind the Pat fans crying about the non-holding call for the * W against the Saints?

    It’s a wash Pat fans, now shut it.

  52. Say whatever you need to say, Gronk was blanketed away from an uncatchable ball. That’s what they called, that’s how it ended…

  53. No dog in the fight here, but it sure looked like PI or holding to me. Is it me, or is the officiating for ALL games declining at warp speed?

  54. A championship team would have put the Panthers away before the end of the game. They had no business depending on the refs to pull them out of the fire.

  55. Ball was not near Gronk,great call to have the courage to pick up the flag. Tired of all the whining on every penalty N.E. receives. Brady throwing another fit ,big surprise.

  56. Belichick can complain all he wants, but he’ll certainly never get any sympathy from anyone that had a (gambling and/or rooting) interest in that MNF GB/SEA screw-job last year…

  57. Bad calls are part of the game and that was a very bad call. Gronk was carried out of position and the ref, not the back judge who called the penalty, determined that Gronk could not have gotten back to the area where the ball came down. An absurd call to anyone with any depth perception. The guy who intercepted the ball would not have had a path to the ball if Gronk was not moved out of position. That said, I thought Brady played great, especially in the second half. What a drive with less than a minute to go. I loved the sideline out with three seconds to go to Dobson to make the final pass attempt a higher probability of success. Hats off to the Panthers, especially Newton, for a great game.

  58. “Clete Blakeman”? Really? Sounds like a Simpsons character. Calls a game like one too. This dude has a spot in the infamous “I have an orange peanut” video from a while back. Maybe he should stick to acting.

  59. thatwasntsological says:
    Nov 19, 2013 12:12 AM
    Put one of these * next to that W the Panthers just got handed by the ref


    The Pats have a few extra *** they can loan the Panthers. You know, from the cheating in the Super Bowls and AFC Championship games?

  60. In the game against the Patriots, the Saints were looking for an explanation from the officials when the Patriots jumped off-sides when they were going for it on fourth down. The replay showed no false start from a Saints player. The refs handed the Patriots that win.

  61. Wow. Absolutely unbelievable waste of time watching the NFL. Terrible calls changing the outcomes of games becoming quite common. Good job Goodell. Expect an apology from league to make it all better.

  62. Disclaimer: I am a chowder fan
    The pats lost this game on the Ridley fumble.
    However, for the 2nd time this season, my team was denied an opportunity to overcome their previous mistakes because of a referee’s decision affect the outcome of the contest. I detest pass interference. I think its overcalled and (along with roughing the passer) is the source of the end of professional football as we have known and enjoyed it.
    But that was a complete MUGGING of Gronkowski and warranted at least 1 more play.
    Anyone else whom had his team in the same situation would feel the same.

  63. Apparently you can still play defense in the NFL. You just have to bear hug the receiver while face guarding him in the EZ. And they said defense was regulated out. Guess someone forgot to tell the ref that threw the flag! Lol

  64. Things have a way of evening out over time amirite? I have zero sympathy for the Pats. They’ve had more than their share of beneficial calls. Now they know a little of what Raider fans felt a few years back.

  65. Assuming the pass was intended for Gronk (pass was off-target to the point of being uncatchable by him, but he was obviously an eligible receiver), no question it was interference as Kuechley had Gronk bearhugged, and the flag was thrown.

    As MDS states, Blakeman’s non-explanation is unacceptable and a major faux pas. During the replay, ESPN apparently consulted a former referee (Gerry Austin?), who said it was the correct call, but the explanation seemed strange, or I didn’t understand it. Gruden took strong issue with the obvious interference rather than whatever the call was.

    No wonder Brady was chewing Blakeman’s ass on the way to the locker room. It may have been the correct call but without an explanation as to why the flag/penalty was ignored, it doesn’t seem fair to New England.

  66. Alright all you Boston homers settle down! No matter what THAT PLAY did not cause the Patriots to lose. Steve Smith owning Aquib Talib and making the guy mentally crumble as well as Cam Newton playing world class is the reason the Patriots lost.

    Ok lets say they call pass interference. That gives them 1 more play to try to score. I’d bet on the Panthers to still pull it out.

    The Patriots DID NOT get robbed! BS calls happen in every game. There may have been 1 bad call on the last play, but that didnt make the game that I saw which was for the most part a dominant Panthers defense hammering Brady.

  67. First of all. Congrats to the Panthers on winning a tremendously played football game on both sides. You guys are legit and that drive by Cam was big boy stuff.

    I thought Brady and the Pats played really well against a good D with limited possessions due to long drives on both sides. Also thought Smith did a great job getting under Talib’s skin early. Completely took him off his game. I liked his fight but it got too personal.

    And lastly, good no call. Gronk wasn’t even trying to come back to the ball and even if he could it likely is broken up easily. Wouldn’t want to win on that call anyway. Bigger game next week for the Pats.

  68. The only thing I can gather is the officials believed the ball was uncatchable by Gronk. Still, shouldn’t that have been defensive holding?

  69. This is one of the calls like the “tuck rule.” Just like under the tuck rule it looked like a fumble but wasn’t. It looks like a penalty but by the way the rules are written it is not. Had the ball not been intercepted before it reached the player and had fallen to the turf near the offensive player then it would have been a foul. So since the ball was intercepted before it reached the offensive player it is a no call. Strange as it may seem but if the ball had been knocked down or if the player would have just not caught the ball (slipped through his hands, bounced off his pads, etc.) the call would have been made.

  70. I firmly believe that these calls—right or wrong—made by the officiating crews even out over time. Lord knows the Pats have benefited from some of these controversial calls at critical times in our team’s history. I can’t complain.

    That aside, I can point to at least a half-dozen reasons why New England lost this game. I have every confidence that the Patriots will go to school on this experience. In light of the significant player turnover and excessive number of key injuries New England has sustained, I couldn’t be more proud of the product my team has put on the field this year.

  71. Have to wonder how much the house was sweating when the flag dropped and NE looked like they would have a untimed down from the 1?

  72. I have no love lost for the Patriots, but MY GOD that was blatant. Did they have CAR -3 and the under? How do you make that call, and then completely (and inaccurately) blow the explanation on the field and in the booth? (Gerry Austin should be ashamed).

  73. forget the so-called missed PI, i still wanna know where the flag was for that leg whip. i thought we were all about player safety, NFL. oh, my bad, CJ wasn’t hit in the head and doesn’t play QB…

  74. The ESPN ref analyst agreed with the call and gave the technical explanation of why it was right due to the pick and player positioning, holding or not.

    Alternatively, Brady said it was a poor throw. When asked if it was holding, Gronk was unsure. If you look at what Kuechly actually does rather than his body position, I think you’ll find that level of contact on many foul-less plays involving TEs. Sure it could be ruled holding, but usually it’s not.

    Ultimately, Gronk’s lack of effort to the ball and a poor throw are the deciding factors. Gronk didn’t believe he could catch it, he didn’t fight for it. If he does I say they keep the flag down.

  75. Do we finally have proof that the Fail Mary wasnt the worst call in MNF history. These are the actual refs that messed up too.

  76. Ask Golden Tate what pass interference is… aka Green Bay vs. Seattle last year. Gerry Austin explained the rule during post-game but I don’t buy it. Clete should have explained anyway what the call was so that adds to it all. At least they should have reviewed the play or make those types of plays reviewable. Either way, the Pats would have had the ball 1st and goal at the one… and we will never know if they would have scored. I’ve seen many bad calls this year. The refs may have this one right. I don’t think so but…

  77. These poor refs get absolutely chastised for calling a sport that is impossible to officiate; often times even with the help of slow motion review. They are paid scraps and do this as a second job on a one-day-a-week basis.

    Sure they get some calls wrong, but with thousands of plays happening every week they come out with a pretty great ratio. Still, it’s the ones that they miss that get all the attention.

    Was it the wrong call? Probably. Could any of us do a better job on a constant basis? Probably not.

  78. Assuming the foul had been called, would there have been enough time on the clock for the Patriots to run another play?

  79. The NFL is becoming very suspect. Many games being decided by the officials at the last gasp. Time to investigate them.

  80. It was the correct call. Has the ESPN official said any interference came past where ball was picked off. CORRECT CALL.
    I am a Packer fan would rather have seen Pats win.

  81. No guarantee the Patriots would have scored on the one play from the 1 yard line that would have happened.

    That being said, they deserved the opportunity to try since the Panthers could only prevail by committing PI.

  82. Ball was uncatchable due to the interception. Not that difficult guys. Not a panther fan either. Just common sense.

  83. Anytime a bandwagon team like the Pats lose on a call, there’s only a big controversy (just like the GB vs SEA Fail Mary game). If Carolina would have lost like that, there would be no national controversy. Bottomline the ball was uncatchable, therefore the refs made the correct call.

  84. The alleged pass interference took place about 1 sec after the ball was intercepted. The ball was intercepted about 2 yds in front of Gronkowski. When he was contacted the ball was already in the hands of the Panthers defender. So no it was not a pass interference. It was close and it should have been explained as such. However it was not a pass interference.

  85. Not a Pats fan, either, but, you have to make that call.

    Especially, when you consider all those 3rd and 10+ yards to go ticky-tack calls for “illegal contact” penalties when the ball isn’t thrown to THAT receiver!

    How can it be illegal contact on a throw 2o or 30 yards from where the contact was made, but, not when it’s TWO yards from the ball???

  86. The ref refuse to explain and left quickly. The dignified excuse for this is that he had to pee badly. Other speculations could veer on their integrity.

  87. It should have been defensive holding or pass interference.

    I don’t want to hear the New England fans whine about it though. They had other opportunities to win the game.

    And they’ve had *plenty* of questionable calls (the Tuck Rule, which is no longer a NFL rule) being chief among them. Lump it.

  88. Of all the professional sports I care about (Basketball, Football, Soccer) I use to think the NFL was the hardest and least likely to have fixed games. But I really had to that today. The ref picks the flag up and doesn’t give a reason why he did so the patriots lose, and Oh yeah what do you know the Panthers cover the spread meanwhile so many bets went in for the New England. Not a conspiracy theorist but I’m just saying.

  89. Sorry 49ers. There’s a new bad call on the scene and she ended up costing the golden one a game. No one will care about your clothesline penalty anymore.

  90. That call was turrible… That said, to just assume NE would have scored on the next play is just ridiculous. (and that pass by Brady was horrible… Kookly would have bailed him out had the flag been thrown as it should have)

  91. The issue here seems to be how one interprets catchable ball. I believe the officials misinterpreted the intent of that phrase.

    If not for the contact, Gronkowski would have been right in the area where the ball was thrown.

    Instead, some are judging it by where Gronkowski was standing at the time of the interception, after which he had been directed five yards out of the play by the contact in question.

    It was a terrible call. Everyone knows it. Credit the Pats for not bitching and moaning during their press conferences. Brady took the high road like the class act that he is. 31 other teams would be up in arms and bitching and moaning but the Patriots don’t gripe through the media. Credit to them.

    Hopefully this nonsense call spurs them to play their best football and carries all the way through the Super Bowl.

  92. Ref makes the call and then hands win to Carolina / there is lacking in conviction not to mention gonads

    Clearly he was bullied by the head ref

    Can’t wait to hear the explanation from Roger

    And for good measure Mike Perreira the former NFL head of officials just said on Fox Sports… It’s a penalty folks no ifs ands or butts and actually was two different fouls: interference and holding. Plus not catchable does not apply on this play according to Mike

  93. Only thing wrong was lack of explanation. Call was right. Ball was thrown tragically short and Gronk could have never made the catch regardless of any interference.

  94. Great call by the refs, they almost gave the pats the victory but because Tom Brady’s pass was so under thrown they decided to not call the Pass interference because the ball was in catchable. Cry foul all you want pats fans but once again this proves that Tom Brady is an avg QB and Pats fans don’t know the basic officiating of the game of football. Way to get it right refs

  95. Nothing better than seeing Pats fans upset about a ref call. Ah, made my week!! Poor coach Belichick, he was so depressed at his press conference. Karma! How about the 8 million times the Pats have benefited from calls going their way eh? And Marcus Cannon should be suspended for that leg whip on Charles Johnson.

  96. Not a fan of either of these teams. With that being said, I slowed the play down on the DVR. Gronk was going to make a slight (probably planned) adjustment at the very end of the rout to undercut the defender covering him. He would have been in the exact spot where the guy who picked it off was. Instead he was mauled by the two of them and shoved into the back of the end zone. Scoreboard for the Panthers though.

  97. Official NFL Rulebook, Pass Interference Permissible Acts: 8-5-3 (c): Contact that would normally be considered pass interference, but the pass is clearly uncatchable by the involved players, except as qualified in Rules 8-3-2 and 8-5-4 pertaining to downfield blocking by the offense.

    Clearly, Kuechly committed pass interference. But was the pass catchable? The problem is, the NFL doesn’t define what a catchable pass is. Being a judgment call, it’s just one of those things where a ref who can overrule might see it differently then the one who made the call, and that’s that. There’s no point in arguing about the call itself – the real problem is that the NFL needs to come up with a better framework for what constitutes a catchable ball, but after all this time there’s probably no framework because there’s just no way to set parameters. Every player’s catch radius is different.

    That said, I don’t think the official’s judgment was so bad. From the looks of it, Gronkowski wasn’t interfered with until it was likely that he wouldn’t be able to get to the spot where the pass was intercepted. The contact didn’t rise to the level of interference until Gronkowski was about at the backline of the endzone, and the ball was picked off about 5 yards into the endzone from what I can tell. But I agree with MDS, the ref should have explained it. It was gonna send the fans home happy anyway.

  98. I hate that the Pats got screwed out of game (I’m a Patriots fan) but what I hate even more is that the refs screwed the Panthers out of a win in the court of public opinion. They played a great game – that whole team rose to the occasion but these goof ball referees messed up a critical call at a critical moment.

  99. Bad call, PI. Happy it happened to the Patriots. I am sick of them getting the benefit of the calls. Need I mention the ridiculous tuck rule call? This call was not the worst, the sack fumble of Brady in the Dolphins game where they said we batted the ball was the worst!

    I guess it is karma for all the bogus calls they have been getting for years!

  100. Patriot fans wanting to place an asterisk on this win, should be okay with having an asterisk next to their championships. No? Thought so, quit the whining. 9 times out of 10 patriots are the beneficiary of questionable calls, you guys finally got the short end of the stick. Get over it…

  101. That call was absolutely butchered by whom ever overruled the Back Judge who had a crystal clear view of everything.

    And one can’t say a ball is “uncatchable” when the receiver is being absolutely mugged for every step from four yards deep in the end zone on.

    No dog in the fight here, but that game could have had one hell of an ending. Pats rally on walk-off touchdown — or Panthers show their mettle with game-deciding goal line stand.

    Instead, we got a clown show. Nice job, refs.

  102. Following the game, Blakeman explained and defended his crew’s decision, saying that the original call was indeed pass interference, but that Gronkowski’s distance from the ball rendered the penalty moot.

    “So it was determined at that point in time that when the primary contact occurred on the tight end that the ball, in essence, was coming in underthrown and in essence it was immediate at that point intercepted at the front end of the end zone,” Blakeman explained. “So there was a determination that, in essence, uncatchability, that the ball was intercepted at or about the same time the primary contact against the receiver occurred.”

    Sorry Cletus ( yes that’s’ his real name) that’s exactly what did not happen. Foul occurred WAY before the interception and when you see the replay you will have to come up with a different wrong answer

    Refs suck that’s just the way it is

  103. It was a great game that left a bitter taste in your mouth thanks to the officiating.

    Wonder how everyone would react if it was the replacement refs making that last call and then running away.

  104. No way on earth that Gronk would have gotten in front of that pick. Re-watch the play, watch his momentum before Luke even laid a hand on him. It is not rocket science, not only was he out of position to make the catch, but even if Keuchley wasn’t there, he would have been 8 yards from that INT and unable to stop it. Beleive it or not, Tom Brady made a BAD THROW when the game was on the line. Sorry if I shattered a bunch of lazy, NFL, “tweener, diva-loving, gossip media-driven, fairy tale fans” perception. Facts are facts, and they were broadcast on national TV tonight.

  105. That would have been PI if the ball wasn’t completely and utterly uncatchable with 2 defenders between gronk and the ball.

    OH! And it’s funny to hear whining and crying from Pats fans considering that they have never been on the good end of calls from the ref… See three weeks ago against the Dolphins in the second half, the tuck rule, etc.

    It’s also pretty hard to feel sorry for a team that cheats #SPYGATE

  106. It is time referees be held accountable for their bad calls. That was clearly interference, before the ball was anywhere near a player of either team. As soon as the foul happened, before the interception, the play should have been dead with the penalty. That’s the worst of it. If they are going to stick by the interception negating the penalty , then they could have at least explained it. Punish this crew. Players are getting money taken out of their pockets for bad plays, so should the referees. They should not be above the game like they seem to be now.
    I’ll be so glad when Goodell is ousted.

  107. It’s calls like this that leave these guys open to rampant speculation. So I’m going to rampantly speculate. This reeks of the kind of corruption that went on in the NBA. Gambling, perhaps?

  108. Baby Brady didn’t get the call to go his way boo hoo. The pats now are reaching the end of their run and panthers are the rising power in the division. But, the road to the sb goes thru Denver.

  109. Why do the networks waste our time interviewing their so called experts on officiating when all they ever do is back up the refs call even though it was an obvious penalty. If the case was pass interference can’t be called because the pass uncatchable then defensive holding was so obvious. What if Brady was sacked and never threw the ball, the penalty for holding would be the right call. Refs didn’t spend enough time to talk it over because the game was in Carolina and they feared the fan reaction. They should never ref again for being cowards.

  110. Where those the same Refs that stole the Superbowl from the Seahawks and gave it to the Steelers? I guess they are trying to get even for the Spy Gates which Kraft’s best friend Roger God-Ell destroyed the evidence. #Karmacomesbackeveryonceinawhile #Dallascowboysisstillamericasteam

  111. this situation proves a point I’ve been making for years. Nba,ncaa and now nfl refs are influenced by home crowds and the hosting venues. I think there must be an unwritten code among officials to keep home crowds generally happy, and not effect the outcomes, that aren’t in favor of the home team, it’s all about public safety and avoiding mass incidents like riots

  112. The talking heads were saying that the ball was uncatchable from where the receiver was. Well, hell yeah! The receiver looked to be trying to get back to the ball, but was held up. The League has to own up to this one.

  113. It was not a catchable pass there for no pass interference!!

    The Panthers didn’t really win? Come on guy you can’t be serious!


  114. I hate the choices in the poll. It wasn’t pass interference, because the throw wasn’t catchable. However, I WILL agree it was defensive holding or illegal touching 5 yards down the field. At the very most, it’s a 5 yard penalty and one more shot at the 11 yard line.

    As a Bills fan, I still don’t care. I’m happy New England lost. Good job, Carolina! It’s about time the refs stood up to Brady and his crying.

    By the way, if the ref wants to tell the NFL Brady cursed at him, he definitely has proof. ESPN didn’t turn off the audio in time haha.

  115. I think the refs were great in this game.

    They did not go overboard with throwing flags or impacting the game.

    For once, Brady could not cry and whine to the refs to get his way.

    By the way….that final no call was the right one….Brady underthrew the pass and there was no way Gronkowski could have come back to catch it. In that way it is almost like an overthrown/uncatchable pass when no call is made.

  116. This is the point where you get picked on, or called a whiner if you complain about a bad call,
    The Packers were ridiculed when Seattle robbed them on the Fail Mary play…
    The Packers against the Cards in the playoffs when Rodgers was face masked on the final play,
    And Pats. really. remember the” Tuck rule.”

  117. After a few hours these polls start to drift from the correct percentages as fans of competing teams begin to chime in well after the fact. You might as well take it down. The percentage of people that thought this was a blatantly bogus incident was in the 90 percent range. That’s the percentage of first instinct reactions, which are always the best. At this point there is some drifting by some people as they hear the feeble attempts by the NFL to explain it. No matter how you slice it, you can’t hold ANY offensive player, anywhere on the field, let alone interfere with a receiver. It wasn’t marginal, and it’s not just Patriots fans that saw it this way. The ball should have been placed on the one yard line, and let one play decide it. Instead, Carolina was rewarded for the strategy of interfering and hoping it doesn’t get called, and if it does, it’s OK because they get one more chance to stop them from the 1 yard line, rather than give up the TD pass. I’d say they shouldn’t have let it come down to one play that the refs could screw up, BUT, this could happen in any close NFL game between any two teams. I could let it go if it was a close call, but this was really bad. I mean, the NFL is saying that if the ball is intercepted, there can be no pass interference. Really? So now, if there are two defenders in the area, one can mug the receiver as long as the other makes the interception? Get ready for some interesting games…..

  118. The ball wasn’t catchable, it was severely under thrown by Brady. Good pass interference no call. However, I believe defensive holding or illegal contact could have been called. But ultimately, the Patriots got beat by the better team on this night. Bottom line.

  119. I have a feeling Peyton is going to shred that banged up secondary this Sunday. I pray for their speedy recovery so we can can pound them at full strength!

  120. 2 words: Money Line!!! it is situations like this why people fully believe that sports are fixed and/or refs are on the take. Here’s an example: How is it possible that Univ of Washington has the most fouls in Pac 12 and their opponents have the fewest fouls against, in aggregate, than any team in Pac 12.

  121. Whenever a non-bandwagon team/fans complains about a controversial call, they are just a bunch of whiners, with the opposing parties saying things like ‘get over it’.

    In contrast, when a bandwagon team/fans complains, it’s a national outrage that puts the sports media into a vast conundrum. The right call was made, ‘get over it’ Patriot fans.

  122. ‘that previous incident Belichick alluded to came during one of the poorly officiated games by the replacement officials during the NFL’s lockout of the regular officials.’

    Poor officiating did not start nor end with the replacements. I still wish the current refs were held to the same standard and level of outrage the replacements were held to.

    Pats should have gotten one more play. They may still have lost, but they were screwed out of one last play.

  123. Absolutely terrible call. I could understand if there was a no call. However, to throw the flag and then say there is no penalty is ridiculous. Even if you don’t call Pass Interference you have to call defensive holding.

  124. I don’t think they got the call wrong,
    I think the harshness of the penalty itself which gives the offense the ball on the one yard line,
    thus all but ensuring a victory for a team that might not have earned it,
    means you can’t call PI on the last play of a game unless you were absolutely certain that BUT FOR the pass interference the offense would have scored.
    not calling the PI last night was the less awful of two awfully distasteful options the refs had. give them a way to call it, but not end up legislating who wins.

    They should change the PI penalty to 25 yards for pass interference more than 25 yards deep, and in situations like last night give the offensive team the ball on the 5 yard line.

  125. This was a bush call by referees that did not have guts to make the right call. If it was the right call, why did it take so long to give an explanation? It was because it was CYA time and they had to get together to get their story right! The head referee was 40 yards down field behind the line of scrimmage! Granted, it should not have come down to this on the Pats play, but it did, and the refs did their usual screw up! and then would not admit it! It was as much a penalty as the McCourty call was!

  126. Not a single Pats ball washer should complain about the refs deciding the outcomes of their games. Like the tuck rule didn’t hand them their first Super Bowl*

  127. Should have had

    Bad Call – Defensive Holding/Illegal Contact.

    Since the foul initially occurred before the ball was thrown. Defensive Holding- 5yards closer and 1 un-timed down.

  128. If Brady had thrown it more in the direction of Gronk or had thrown it a second later so Gronk could curl, a penalty would make sense.

    But, in all fairness, without impediment, Gronk would’ve had to push-off the defender to get that ball with his route, which would’ve ended the game anyway.

    As a Pats fan, I can also say we had a gift call earlier. The blame can lie on Ridley; red-zone turnover lead to Patriots loss. I’m not going to put it on the refs to tikki-tack a win on MNF. The non-call hurt bad, but who would’ve wanted such a great game to be decided on such a call?

    Let’s get Peyton next week. Good game for both teams.

  129. If this “no foul on the play” call happened at any time other than the end of the game, no one would care. It would’ve been nice to have a clearer explanation, but I’m not seeing any shenanigans.

  130. Even if you don’t call PI how is it not illegal contact? He was clearly holding on to him when the ball was in the air before it was caught.

  131. Those replacement refs were more competent than the officiating we’ve seen this season. At least they were able to keep their officiating consistent. That’s more than you can say for the ‘real’ referees.

  132. “The official explanation, via a pool report distributed to the media, was that the pass intended for Patriots tight end was uncatchable.”

  133. I TOTALLY disagree.

    It is better for a ref to NOT explain.

    When he explains, it shows he is not applying the “indisputable visual evidence” standard. If there isnt sufficient indisputable evidence, the call stands. Period.

    When they start to explain, I get pissed. That’s when they seem to think that the job of reply is to make the correct call. IT IS NOT. (in law, we call that de novo review – where the appeals court makes its own analysis of the evidence, instead of just deciding whether an error occurred in the previous court).

    Reply in the NFL is not “hey ref, what really happened?” Maybe it should be. But right now its only “hey ref, was the call obviously (12 drunks in a bar would all agree) wrong?” If it wasnt obviously wrong, the call stands.


  134. Dear New England Patriots Football Club,

    For years my organization has been telling you and everyone else that the officials are crooked and bias and incompetent. There is no other way to explain the official’s actions last night, nor two weeks ago.

    However, you didn’t listen to me then, why should you now? I told you so.

    Al Davis

  135. You mean a call actually (or in this case a picked up flag) actually went against the Patriots? What kind of world are we living in? I though it was only their opponents who got shafted?

    I hope Patriots’ fans aren’t going to complain about this, who am I kidding, they are the biggest whiners of the bunch. Seriously, they need to take a look at how some of the other teams/opponents are getting shafted.

    Heck, all they need to do is take a look at some of the ridiculous penalties called against the Chargers this year.

  136. Why does the league allow these half witted refs make judgement calls on anything.

    They took away their ability to make a judgement call when a receiver was pushed out of bounds, which the refs blew time and time again.

  137. Suck it up pats, you thought it was funny when the refs didnt call the penalty at the end of the saints game.the oline was choke holding one of our rushers.

  138. The poll should be changed to add holding to it. You usually don’t get holding once the ball is in the air, but if Gronk could not get back and catch it, he might have been able to get back enough to get a PI call. At the least they would have gotten another play with a 5 yard penalty. I still did not them to win, and now I don’t want to hear the whining that will come with it. They will be like GB after the Monday Night Game in Seattle.

    Maybe this is a good thing though, maybe people will forget that call, and focus more on this one. Even though when the ball was caught the first thing out of Tirico’s mouth was simultaneous possession.

  139. It should have been defensive holding not pass interference. The pass was uncatchable but Gronkowski was clearly held prior to the pass being intercepted while he was trying to come back toward the ball. Heck, he was held before the ball ever even got past the line of scrimmage.He was held for a full 2-3.seconds. He was literally hugged. It’s like the defender had a deal with the ref that no matter what you won’t call a penalty on me right? I mean it was that obvious!
    I’m not a fan of either team but the Pats should have gotten 5 yards and a 1st down a 1 untimed play to try to win the game.

  140. Lester cut in on the pass and picked it off before it got into Gronk’s area or anywhere he could have been without Keuchly’s interference. I think it was a good call but it definitely should have been explained there and then.

  141. who cares the pats have got more BS calls then every team combined, I like it go whine a little more Brady. They always get calls from refs so go stuff it in your hat !!!!!

  142. Sick and Tired of everybody saying the Patriots get all the calls and all the breaks,thats total b.s.thats twice now in the last month the Pats have been robbed.So everybody and your belief the Pats are shown favoritism is complete non-sense.

  143. Clete is one of the finer officials in the league. If you ask me, the league should bring more young talent in like him. It’s getting old watching Ron Winter take 30 minutes to power walk to every dead ball.

    And whether you like it or not, Jerry Austin clearly explained the rule after the telecast. Although they probably should have called holding (which they didn’t), it wasn’t a clear pass interference. Clete did nothing wrong here. Salty loss for the Patriots for sure, but you can’t always have the luck go your way. It was a judgement call and I don’t think the crew made the wrong one in this case.

  144. the call didn’t overturn a touchdown. the pats would’ve still had only one untimed chance to score from the one against one of the best front sevens and stingiest red zone defenses in the league.

  145. That previous incident Belichick alluded to came during one of the poorly officiated games by the replacement officials during the NFL’s lockout of the regular officials. Blakeman’s failure to explain the key ruling at the end of a great game was reminiscent of those replacement refs.


    Couldn’t resist one last jab at the replacement refs could you? The reality is, other than the support of the media, the replacement refs and the regular refs aren’t that much different.

    One set the media gives free passes to and the other set get’s criticized just for showing up for the game but the calls and quality aren’t really that much different.

  146. You know…it is baffling that they say they didn’t call it PI because the ball was uncatchable. So could someone please tell me why they didn’t just change the penalty to “holding”. And that rule kinda sucks because if Gronk wasn’t held..who is to say that he couldn’t step up to catch the ball? Just plain suspicious to me…and the thing that sucks…is if they come out later to say that it actually should have been called….it is still an L in the Win/Loss column.

  147. I think Goodell should look into letting someone “upstairs” review plays/calls that determine the winner of a game.

  148. thatwasntsological says:
    Nov 19, 2013 12:12 AM
    Put one of these * next to that W the Panthers just got handed by the ref
    There should be 3 of them next to the Pat’s Super Bowls. None since Spygate.

  149. Every Patriots loss is followed by fans blaming the refs. PI was 50/50 there to me because Gronk was nowhere near that ball. And not because of LK. Gronk went to the back of the end zone on his own while Brady threw it to the front of the end zone.

  150. I watch NFL games often, but don’t have a team. The NFL has given the Pats so many games and so many calls over the years that I am not going to feel bad about this blown call.

    100 games the NFL gave the Pats, 1 they took away. Nothing to cry about.

  151. For all the “you didn’t win Panther” crap… I’m pretty sure there were a lot of plays before that one in the game. It’s absurd to discredit an entire game for one call. Especially when the ball wasn’t even catchable… For anyone other than Lester that is

  152. Hmmm. I guess the NFL has found a new team to hand games to.

    I just sucks when it isn’t you anymore, eh Patriots?

  153. Of course the ball was uncatchable, how could it be otherwise with an opposing player in front of you holding you back!

  154. Tom Brady sure looked cute on the sideline sporting that snow hat with the little pom pom on top. The only thing missing was the Uggs.

  155. @thatwasntsogical then U have to put an * next to half of the Patriots’ wins over the last 5 years or more. Especially in their regular season wins over the Giants, Steelers, & Ravens the year they almost went “undefeated”. For as much cheating as they have done & for as many games as the Patriots have been handed, neither them or their moronic fan base, should be complaining right now. FINALLY, one didn’t go your way. Suck it up & quit Ur damn crying, New England.

  156. First off, it wasn’t PI, it was holding. Second, if the penalty was called, how can you guarantee the Pats would have scored? Questionable call? Yes. The Pats won and the refs reversed the outcome and gave it to the Panthers? No.

  157. It was dumb for the official to not explain things yet from what the rulebook says it wasn’t a penalty. Pats fans and the media will go on about this for the next few days ignoring that of course. To them, the NFL rules should not count when it comes to the Patriots unless the rules benefit them like oh I don’t know, the tuck rule. Magically then do the rules matter and should be followed.

    Damn the Panthers for even allowing the Pats to be in position to have this happen. I am so sick of teams not being able to play sound defense when leading by 7 or less and under a minute left. Happens in almost EVERY GAME now.

  158. If that situation occurred anytime before the clock\game was to expire, there would have been a penalty called.

    Also, if that play would have happened in Foxboro, a penalty would’ve been called.

    Ohhh…. the joys and pains of watching the NFL!

  159. Brady’s fault for throwing a bad pass like he threw the ball behind Welker in the Super Bowl. Ball needed to be thrown sooner, higher, and a little farther. The Hoodie’s fault for benching Ridley for two quarters like Schwartz benched Bush for two quarters on Sunday. These guys are not in high school anymore and horrible coaching decisions. New England’s secondary is terrible and Clete doesn’t owe anybody an explanation. Coulda said the flag inadvertently fell out of his pocket. Media has to realize that nobody owes you an explanation for everything they do. Who are you to judge?

  160. Suck it up and move on. If you had watched longer you would have heard an explanation from a 2-time superbowl ref that they brought in during the post game. He said the ball was short and therefore uncatchable by Gronk. That is why the flag was pulled up. If it had not been intercepted, then the flag could have possibly been enforced. Possibly. The short pass was intercepted and therefore no foul on the play. It happens all the time in the NFL. Only this time it was on the national spotlight. Bill Belichick is a royal TURD. Tom Brady was class act in his post game interview but Belichick was a TURD. Game over, move on. If you had played better, it wouldn’t have come down to one play. Admit it, patriots got out-played. simple as that.

  161. And who was the former ref that agreed with the call at the end of the game? By his logic on any play a corner can wrap his arms around a receiver and if the ball isn’t thrown in the receivers area it’s not penalty

  162. Was it pass interference? Yes
    Was He ever going to catch that ball without Luke in his way? No.

    The league needs to get their stuff together and realize a penalty AWAY from the ball, a play that has ZERO bearing on the play being completed shouldn’t be a penalty in regards to pass interference or face mask, or illegal block in the back.

    How many times did the panthers commit a foul AWAY from the ball on 3rd down? 3 or 4? plays that had ZERO bearing on the outcome of the play at hand, and even then the patriots couldn’t capitalize.

  163. I heard on Mike and Mike that the explanation was that it wasn’t catchable? I was expecting a ball that sailed out of the endzone. Kuelchy’s interference rose Gronkowski further from where the ball landed and I’ve seen throws ALOT more uncatchable throws be called for PI.

  164. NBC’s officiating analyst said the non-call was the correct call. Chucky disagreed for the sake of a good controversy. That is all.

  165. It looked like a foul to me but why would it be different from a tipped ball that negates pass interference?

  166. Carolina won and played a good game so you can’t take anything away from them. But that was a bad call and even worse way to end the game.

  167. Devin Macourty gets flagged on a crucial third down PI that was no wear near the mauling that Gronkowski received on the games last play. You got to be kidding me!

  168. it might have been the wrong call but how can anyone say the refs gave Panthers the game? Pats would have been given one more play to score. Might not have scored the next play.

  169. The nfl really needs to take a page out of mlb’s book and have post game interviews for officials. It’s not right that they can make controversial calls that decide games week in and week out and not have to at least explain themselves.

  170. The explanation – should it have been the ball was uncatchable by the TE? There was no way he was getting back to that ball withOUT the penalty, but he WAS being held, hugged, and mugged…

  171. Eagles fan here. I only saw the animated GIF of the play, but it sure looks like PI to me. Even if it wasn’t, throwing the flag and then no explaining why it was picked up was UNACCEPTABLE. Don’t get me wrong…I still love when Belicheat squirms and Brady loses his pretty boy head.

  172. There is no way he catches that ball even if he had not been held, it was the right call. I know it’s hard for the patriots to grasp not having every call go their way like usual.

  173. I am a Bills fan here . Yea it was a bad call ‘the Pats should of got one more chance from the 1 yard line . They would not of gotten a TD on the penalty .They lost a chance at winning the game but that is all a just a chance . So the Pats were not robbed of a win . The Pats have been on the postive side of so many calls in the recent past it had to start going the other teams way eventully . Damn I hope this is an indicator of things to come .It is called Karma .

  174. It would be one thing if the officials missed the holding and didn’t throw the flag. But for the back judge to make the right call and then have the referee overrule him without explanation – well, something stinks here.

    I’m not going to say that it cost the Patriots the game, since they didn’t do enough to beat the Panthers. But it was a bad call by Blakeman and the NFL should do something about it.

    Oh, and for those of you comparing this to the Tuck Rule, there’s a key difference: the Tuck Rule was the right call based on a terrible rule (which is why the NFL finally changed the rule). But Gronkowski was clearly, flagrantly interfered with last night, so the back judge made the right call.

  175. Not a Patriot fan, but come on! Lets just say for the sake of argument that it was not P.I. and that there was still no guarantee that the Patriots would have won. What wasn’t called and why the hell it didn’t get called is illegal contact beyond five yards. According to NFL rules, what Kuechly did was CLEARLY illegal contact…..


    If the receiver attempts to evade the defender, the defender cannot chuck him, or extend an arm(s) to cut off or hook him, causing contact that redirects, restricts, or impedes the receiver in any way.

    This would have resulted in a 5 yard penalty, ball on the 13 and another shot at a TD.

  176. So is the referee contractually obligated to stay on the field and give an explanation?
    The answer is no.
    Therefore people can call it unacceptable or whatever else they’d like to call it but it really doesn’t matter.
    Personally I think he was probably terrified that he would be assaulted by Belichick if he didn’t get out of there. Given Belichick’s history of assaulting refs at the end of the game when he disagrees with a call I don’t see how you could blame the guy. Unless of course you had a bias towards the Patriots that is.

  177. Let me first say – I’m not a Panthers fan.

    Everyone is so quick to say that the refs gave the Panthers that game because of one call?! One call?! Open your eyes. Yes, obviously that was PI. You saw it, I saw it, astronauts in space saw it.

    So Panthers get penalized and the Patriots are on the 1 yard line to run one more play because the clock reads :00. No guarantee they make it in with Carolina’s stout and 3rd best ranked defense. No matter what you say, we will never know. The top offense or the top defense. Brady struggled on that last drive.

    Carolina played a heck of a game on both sides of the ball, and it’s a bit misdirected to say they got the game handed to them.

  178. Ok, having heard that the call was the ball was uncatchable because it was intercepted so far ahead oh Gronk that he couldn’t have reached it, I have a question:

    How can that not be holding or at the very least illegal contact?

    Seems like the very definition of those two.

  179. Of course it was a bad call.

    Of course the refs worked hard to influence the outcome of the game. Why? Because the Big Money Betting Interests decided early in the week that Carolina needed to win in order to set a huge betting game when Carolina plays New Orleans.

    Sure, the players do all they can to win games, but the NFL is entrenched with the Trillion Dollar Betting Interests NFL games have attracted. Do not be a fool to think the rich NFL owners are not hanging out with the other rich guys who comprise the Trillion Dollar Betting Interests that bets on NFL games.

    The refs directly impacting the outcome of this game is no surprise and shouldn’t be to anyone who follows NFL football. If you think the NFL is really about the best athletes in the world competing against each other to win games, you have imbibed too many Buds or other brews. The money interests always have a say in how the games end. This one ended in favor of Carolina to set up bigger betting ones with the Saints.

  180. For all of you saying ball was uncatchable, watch where contact is made gronk has inside position on lester until kuechly wraps him up and pulls gronk back allowing lester to undercut the route! Definition of PI

  181. It was quite obvious that he was afraid of the mob that was forming in the stands. Then they reached for the stupidest explanation as possible later. Yikes!!!

  182. Uncatchable.

    Had the other Panther who intercepted the ball not been there, then yea, it’s a penalty.

    But it was intercepted prior to the illegal contact.

  183. The refs do a disservice to the game and to the league when they run off the field with no explanation after a controversial call. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth for anyone who believes in fairness and a level playing field. Look at some of the previous posts. People making jokes about the refs getting paid by Vegas bookies. Jokes about the refs betting the spread. Jokes about the refs being on the take. Does the NFL really want that kind of reputation for its refs? The first thing Goddell can do to restore faith in the refs is to make sure they do not run off the field until they explain a call, or in this case, a non-call. Running suggests something to hide. The coaches and players and fans deserve better than what they got Monday night.

  184. Defensive holding is prior to the ball being thrown. Once the ball is thrown it is either PI or not PI. I don’t see how that was a catchable ball since it was under thrown by at least 5 yards, the intended receiver made no attempt to get back to the ball, and there was another defender between the QB and intended receiver to pick it off. Brady made a horrendous throw. However the referee should have explained the ball was deemed not catchable before leaving the field.

  185. How does the rest of the league feel knowing you the Pats cant be beat without some external help?

    Pats fans are upset about this because of it’s implications. While the majority of the league is stressing over just barely scraping into the playoffs via wild card the Pats are in contention for the 1st seed year after year.

  186. I would have liked to see Mallett choke the heck out of Blakemen in the tunnel on live national TV. That would make up for the choke job the refs pulled on the field.

  187. Patriots get screwed by the refs again. Film at 11. Are the refs turning against the Patriots now too? Clear interference. Patriots should file a protest and they should be allowed to get the ball at the 1 yard line with a chance to score. What a joke. Clear hometown call.

  188. It was a bad no-call. I don’t personally believe that Gronk could have gotten back to the ball, but it was too close to not call.

    That being said, it was a terrible pass, one of several on that drive. And if not for a pass interference call earlier in the drive, that play probably never even happens.

    Lastly, there is no guarantee, especially the way they were playing, that the Patriots score if given one more play.

    The sad thing is that because of this play, the Panthers will get no credit nationally for playing a great game.

  189. Man. Patriots fans have to be some of the stupidest people on the planet (besides Vikings fans).

    You think that Gronkowski was going to stop on a dime, dive back 5 yards, and jump through the guy who intercepted it?

    Just. Plain. Stupid.

  190. Interference? No. The ball was nowhere near Gronk and therefore not catchable. Also, the defender had clear position between Gronk and the ball, and he is not obligated to get out of the way.

    Holding? OK, now it gets interesting as that can be called on the defense anywhere. An argument can be made for this one. However, I’d say that Gronks attempt to backtrack back to the ball through the defender was just as responsible for the contact as the defender was.

    Bottom line – it was a crappy pass. Brady makes a better throw that one could at least reasonably conclude Gronk had a shot at, and the call would have stood.

  191. The ref may have made the right call. However, the issue is that to announce that there was no penalty and have NO explanation and just end the game was total BS. I couldn’t care WHO the team was. As an NFL fan, I thought it was the stupidest thing ever. Refs have to stop deciding out comes of games. It is getting ridiculous.

  192. I’ve never seen so much hate for a particular organization such as the Patriots here on this vine. It’s actually quite comical. Let me see, there are Raider fans on here talking smack. Hmmm, let me remind you that your organization has been irrelevant for quite some time now not knowing how to draft the right personnel and basically giving away your draft picks left and right. Awesome. Then you have the Miami Dolphins and the NY Jets, wow, the Miami Dolphins and the NY Jets. Thats all I have. Then you have the Steeler fans who are very loyal and die hard but still talk smack after getting demolished by the Patriots recently. You can talk all the smack you want when you have a .500 plus record and a consistent quarterback. @tokyosandblaster, question for you, was the holding on Gronkowski a penalty? If it was any other team, was it a penalty? Even if Brady threw the pick, out of bounds or nailed the ref in the head with the ball, you do not think that called for a yellow flag for holding? So by your judgment, Kuechly could have kicked him in the nuts and gave him a DDT but since Brady threw an interception, it was deemed a no infraction? That does not make any sense but thanks for the comment either way. Let me guess it was “spygate” coming back and haunting the Pats or it was “tuck” rule getting revenge? It’s always the same rhetoric with you Patriot haters isn’t it. Still butt hurt over it I guess. Question, are the Pats the only team to ever use a camera? You still have to play the game no matter what with the personnel given. But whatever, you butt hurt fans keep bringing up old nonsense to make the outcome of certain situations better for you, if thats what makes you happy than god bless.

  193. Looks to me like the original call by the back judge was correct. He must have been bullied and overruled by the rough and tough sounding head official.

  194. Rules are rules ,right ? Nothing could be further from the truth. From my observations of thousands upon thousands of football games you just never know what those little rascals in the striped suits are going to do. This was a “hail Mary” situation and that kind of action is never flagged,even when the ball is close to the receiver. It is one of those unwritten rules. Additionally : The ball was cleanly picked ,ball was no where near Gronk,Gronk was not even looking for the ball. Just because a flag was thrown means nothing . We have all seen flags get picked up after a conference of officials. Too much yelling and screaming from Brady(should be fined) to have an explanation under those conditions.

  195. Brady was asking for an explanation. It should have been called holding and the Pats would have had an un-timed down. Who knows if they would have won. Gotta love the 24-20, Carolina favored by 3 with an over/under 46/5 Vegas betting line though. The real question is…. did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?

  196. 2007
    “Undefeated” Pats vs. 5-11 Ravens

    1:48 to play. Ravens ahead.
    Pats 4th and 1
    Ravens sack Brady-game over.

    The refs permit Ravens asst. coach Ryan to call a time out and negate the play.
    The rules say only the HC (Billick) or a player on the field can call a time out.

    Doesn’t matter-the Pats must win.
    Not a judgement call like last night-flat out cheating by the refs.
    Oh well its was only the Ravens.

  197. Personally, I felt it was PI especially given the circumstances. At the very least the referee should have given a detailed description as to why the flag was being picked up. That’s right! An official had called PI and was overruled! By whom? Why? The game officials should have taken the time to go over to both benches to explain what happened. The Patriots can not complain given the famous “Tuck Rule” call back in the 2002 playoffs. However, that was a very poor case of officiating, again.

  198. “There is no foul on the play…” but shortly after the game Gronk reports an attempted rape in the end-zone to the Carolina police department. Investigation is still going on.

  199. Brady should have been flagged for throwing a terrible pass at the ground about 5 yards short of his TE. it was not catchable therefore a fair call.
    Carolina deserved the win for making more plays on both offense and defense.

  200. A bad call is a bad call, no matter if you percieve a team as benefiting from bad calls in the past. Of course, Gronkowski could not get to it while being held in the endzone. The distance was 4 yards… that’s only two steps for him! I’m a fan of neither team, but bad calls spoil the game. Home field “advantage” seems to be more identifiable lately. Look at the call the Saints have gotten the past two weeks!

  201. Anyone remember last years Super Bowl? Crabtree was obviously held, but everyone says you don’t end a game on a penalty, so I say to them what everyone said to me quit whining lol. You lost a game we lost a super bowl

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