Key pass interference call helps Buccaneers seal Super Bowl berth

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Two years ago, a key defensive pass interference non-call helped keep the Saints out of the Super Bowl — and turned the NFL on its head. Today, a key defensive pass interference call helped send the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl.

With the Buccaneers holding a five-point lead and facing third and four at their own 37 with under two minutes to play, quarterback Tom Brady threw over the middle to receiver Tyler Johnson. Cornerback Kevin King grabbed Johnson’s jersey, slowing him down by a step.

No flag came initially. Then, several seconds later, the yellow hankie flew through the air.

Defensive pass interference. First down, Tampa.

That essentially ended it. And while the jersey pull seemed obvious, the game had a distinct “let them play” vibe throughout.

After the Saints non-call from early 2019, the NFL implemented replay review for pass interference calls and non-calls. That lasted a year.

Even if it still applied, replay review wouldn’t have overturned the ruling on the field. There was a grab, there was impairment of the effort to make the catch. There was interference.

123 responses to “Key pass interference call helps Buccaneers seal Super Bowl berth

  1. First team ever to host a SuperBowl Game …. no fans allowed (if the lions ever get there this will repeat)

  2. That call didn’t lose the game – kicking a FG down 8 with less than 3 minutes to go in the game did. Congrats on a great season cheesers, but TB clearly deserved that win.

  3. Instant replay wouldn’t have overturned that call. But it would’ve overturned the Rodgers INT in the first half that led to the Brady TD.

    Anyway, I’m probably just hallucinating. I have it on good authority that the Packers get all the calls.

  4. I wouldn’t be as upset if they’d thrown the flag on the obvious hold on Rodgers int. That was huge. It really sucks to invest so much emotion into a game (and season) only to have it taken away on such a questionable call. Sure I’m a Packers fan but no one wants to see a game like this decided by the refs.

  5. The call in a vacuum wasn’t a bad call, but considering what they had let the Tampa DB’s get away with the entire game it was a terrible call that essentially handed TB the game. They could have called that same penalty at least 8 other times tonight… the inconsistency is what made it terrible.

  6. toothlesslion says:
    January 24, 2021 at 6:43 pm
    First team ever to host a SuperBowl Game …. no fans allowed (if the lions ever get there this will repeat)
    ————————————–
    There will be around 22,000 fans in the stands

  7. It’s funny how the losing team always complains about some call or no-call as if none of the plays that they failed to make throughout the game mattered.

  8. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

    No Pack No
    No Pack No
    No Pack No

  9. Not going to the touchdown on 4th and goal is inexcusable. Another year with an all-time great QB wasted.

    We need a new coach and someone who can fix our historically awful defense.

  10. pkrlvr says:
    January 24, 2021 at 6:45 pm
    I wouldn’t be as upset if they’d thrown the flag on the obvious hold on Rodgers int. That was huge. It really sucks to invest so much emotion into a game (and season) only to have it taken away on such a questionable call. Sure I’m a Packers fan but no one wants to see a game like this decided by the refs.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Shut up.

  11. Why are the refs always against the Packers? Don’t think I’ve ever seen the Pack get a fair, let alone, good call on a single play. Ever. In any game. Anywhere.

  12. King was water skiing behind Johnson. King got beat and his only hope was to grab hold and hope there would be no call.

  13. Kicking a FG down 8 with 3 min. left in a championship game is about the weakest call I’ve ever seen.

  14. Rodgers totally out played Brady. But 2 missed PI/holding calls in Bucs favor and boneheaded coaching at the end of the 1st half and kicking the FG allows Bucs to win. Brady is the only QB that could throw 3 INT and win.

  15. pkrlvr says:
    January 24, 2021 at 6:45 pm
    I wouldn’t be as upset if they’d thrown the flag on the obvious hold on Rodgers int. That was huge. I
    —-
    The way the Packers get most calls you should never be upset. How come you never say a game should never end like that when it ends like that in favoe of the Packers?

  16. Is there a more lucky quarterback in the history of the NFL than Brady? The ridiculous catch by Goodwin just reminded me of Edelman in the Super Bowl. Then he throws a lollipop interception that doesn’t get picked and instead turns into a touchdown. It’s not that the call on King was incorrect, it’s that they literally didn’t call that all day until it mattered. The refs should never make one single call that determines an entire game. But they want Brady in the Super Bowl once again so he gets what he wants. What a joke.

  17. Virtual Reality keeps getting better and better. The New Season should be great!……..

  18. Cheese eaters….cry about the dopey FG call (and lack of trust in Rodgers with that call) and not penalities.

  19. The key was Packers’ head coach being too conservative in playoffs… again.
    Matt MclaFleurty!

  20. It was definitely pass interference. But when you let ever other penalty go, you lose credibility

  21. Going for 3 rather than the possibility of 6 and then 2, (leaving you in a similar position if you fail going for 6), but choosing to go for 3, and assume you’ll get the ball back from Tom Terrific with less than 2 1/2 mins to go with the Conference Championship on the line helped the Buccaneers seal their super bowl berth.

  22. Frustrating game for me as a Packer’s fan. Really, all I can do is give props to the Bucs. Their 3rd down conversions on offense in the first half, especially, were killers. The late TD in the first half to Miller with essentially no
    time remaining was very costly. The missed opportunities by GB early in the second half to get drives started hurt. When the Pack decided on the field goal on 4th down with just 2 minutes plus to go at the end was the wrong decision. You have the MVP of the league in Rodgers, #1 scoring offense in the league this year in the red zone and you’re going to give it back to Brady with hopes for a miracle stop/turnover?
    Still, the Packers fought back and made it a helluva game. My team. Go Pack!

  23. You can not tell me this game was called equally. The pick that Rogers threw there was holding and no call. Either call the game equally or just come out and say the NFL wants Brady to play at home in the SB.
    I didn’t have a horse in the race but when officiating determines the outcome of a game of this magnitude it cheapens the game more then it has been.

  24. Everyone saying kicking the FG was the play that cost GB, LaFleur trusted his defense to get a stop, and if the refs were consistent on the way they called defensive holding plays for 60 minutes instead of 57, they did.

  25. Hey Rodgers: Sorry No Refs discount for you..Lets go Bills .. so we get no more State Farm commercials..

  26. Is that what the Packers are going to blame for losing that game? The Packers got away with a lot of holding and interference, both teams did. But that one at the end was pretty blatant.

  27. pkrlvr says:
    January 24, 2021 at 6:45 pm
    I wouldn’t be as upset if they’d thrown the flag on the obvious hold on Rodgers int. That was huge. It really sucks to invest so much emotion into a game (and season) only to have it taken away on such a questionable call. Sure I’m a Packers fan but no one wants to see a game like this decided by the refs.

    But if it was a roughing the passer on Brady with no one touching him you’d be cool with it right ?

  28. Theme of 2020 was to “stay home” and now the Tampa Bay Bucs get to stay home and host a super bowl. Couldn’t of written it better 🙂

  29. 2 missed PI/holding calls
    ————

    Why does the NFL bother employing referees when all the experts work for feee right here in the PFT comment section?

  30. Very unusual to see Packers coaches and Aaron crying to officials about calls at home. At Lambeau the visitors almost always face two opponents, the Packers and the officials. Not this time baby…sweet!

  31. Going for that field goal served no purpose, they were still down by a TD and would now have less time and an entire field to go IF they got ball back. How do you trust your defense over Aaron F’ing Rodgers.

  32. Packers lost because they kicked a field goal when they had a chance to tie. Brady was giving the game away in the 4th, but Packers failed to capitalize.

  33. Looks like the Packers made a lateral move at coach. They simply swapped out one timid, Rodgers-reliant HC for another. LaFleur is no better than McCarthy.

  34. Rodgers like Roethlisberger isn’t a big time QB. Brady threw three straight picks for you Rodgers. He was literally throwing the game for you and you stunk it up hahaha

  35. Crazy how an almost identical call wasn’t made when it resulted in the Rodgers interception before half.

  36. philcodean says:
    January 24, 2021 at 6:57 pm
    Frustrating game for me as a Packer’s fan. Really, all I can do is give props to the Bucs. Their 3rd down conversions on offense in the first half, especially, were killers. The late TD in the first half to Miller with essentially no
    time remaining was very costly. The missed opportunities by GB early in the second half to get drives started hurt. When the Pack decided on the field goal on 4th down with just 2 minutes plus to go at the end was the wrong decision. You have the MVP of the league in Rodgers, #1 scoring offense in the league this year in the red zone and you’re going to give it back to Brady with hopes for a miracle stop/turnover?
    Still, the Packers fought back and made it a helluva game. My team. Go Pack!

    **********
    Agreed. Brady uncharacteristically was giving the game away in the Q4, but GB made a dumb call by not going for the TD on 4th down. It was a ridiculous call. GB had momentum and had a chance to tie.

  37. A Big spot in the game why give the ref a reason to throw a flag? It’s debatable if the ball was even catchable. But no reason for the ref to see stretched undershirt.

    If I were a packers fan. I’d be more upset with my head coaches poor decision making.

    1. Going for 2

    2. Kicking the late FG

  38. If you call that then you have to call defensive holding against Tampa too. Just be consistent

  39. Dear god it was the most obvious PI you’ll ever see? Your Rodgers fanboy posts are tiring!

  40. It was probably the right call by the rules, but it was a ridiculous call considering the refs had let both teams play until that point, especially after the Bucs got away with a similar foul on the Rodgers INT.

  41. So people are upset that the blatant PI at the end was correctly called?

    Normally whining about officiating is for bad calls, not a correct ones.

  42. Bottom line: the right call was made, just like the refs are supposed to. The game was well played and well-called. All the conspiracy theorists every week are ridiculous. There is no conspiracy.

  43. Love how GB fans are on here admitting they wanted a clear penalty not to be called in order to give them a chance to win the game.

  44. Say what you want about Zimmer and all the other NFL coaches, they would have gone for the 4th and goal down by 8. Lafail looks like a spoiled child jumping up and down on the sidelines after the PI call.

  45. I have never seen a jersey pulled so long. After getting all calls in their favor (remember two holding calls on lions last year in 2 minn) it is so weird packers fans complaining about it

  46. ARod(in his collarbone) says:
    January 24, 2021 at 6:50 pm
    pkrlvr says:
    January 24, 2021 at 6:45 pm
    I wouldn’t be as upset if they’d thrown the flag on the obvious hold on Rodgers int. That was huge. It really sucks to invest so much emotion into a game (and season) only to have it taken away on such a questionable call. Sure I’m a Packers fan but no one wants to see a game like this decided by the refs.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Shut up.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Like you wouldn’t have complained if it was your team – LOL! People are so funny.

  47. King should have been pulled from the game after he let Miller behind him for a TD at the end of the first half. And then he kicked Miller while he was on the ground. King was a liability all day and he couldn’t hold up. He got worked today.

  48. Bring on the Jordan Love era. Tough decisions ahead being $22 over the cap next year. Aaron Jones b-bye. He couldn’t dust himself off in this one. Fumble hurt his pride, so no dusting off of the jersey I guess.

  49. You would not have the complaints over the King DPI–which was fairly blatant–if the refs had correctly called Sean Murphy-Bunting for the even more blatant DPI on his INT near the end of the first half, which led directly to TB’s winning points.

    The double standard is what has fans up in arms. You don’t change the strike zone in the 9th inning, and you don’t change how you call penalties in the last 2 minutes. Either they were both penalties, or neither of them was penalties. One or the other.

  50. This was the right call it also should have been made earlier in the game. Plus Godwin got grabbed earlier in the game wasn’t called so the next play ends in a pick. There was no bias in this game. Just hard nosed let them play ball until the 4th.

  51. It is what it is. It would have been nice if the Refs were consistent the whole game, but the truth is the Packers need to move on from Mike Pettine and Kevin King.

    Side note: Vikings fans are kinda silly. Their team has never won a damned thing. Like ever. And they act as though making it to the NFC Championship isn’t very good. lol Just so you know, your team won’t be there again in the next decade or two.

    Enjoy your day!

  52. So many blocks in the back not called and receivers/cornerbacks playing chippy all game and they call THAT?! I’m not saying it wasn’t holding perhaps, but they were letting that go all game long on both sides. I’m not a GB fan, I just hate the refs deciding who wins. In addition, I didn’t see anything different on the helmet to helmet hit to Adams that Sorenson didn’t do to Higgins in the Chiefs/Browns game? Why was that a penalty and the other not? Makes you wonder…

  53. “Aaron Rodgers will be traded this off season”

    ////////////////

    After watching his presser and hearing his agent Dunn is talking to the 49ers, its a good thing they drafted a QB last year instead of a speedy WR or a CB to replace King.

  54. Matt LaFleur was the best coach for the Bucs today. Packers couldn’t capitalize on their chances after Brady interceptions and you won’t see much dumber calls than not going for it on 4th and goal.

  55. It was ridiculous to call that after the Bucs got away with a similar infraction on the Rodgers INT.

  56. 2:09 from the 8 yard line and you kick a FG with Davante Adams & Rodgers to cut the lead to 5 points. That is on the head coach.

  57. It was a blatant penalty that had to be called, just like the helmet on helmet call early in the game.

  58. GB should not reach their players to pull jerseys. That’s a penalty. Correct call was made

  59. If Aaron Rodgers would’ve run to the pylon only 5 yards away instead of throwing the ball across his body to Adams (incomplete) on 3rd and goal, he would’ve scored a TD. Don’t understand that decision by Rodgers. He is a sneaky fast runner.

  60. GB should not teach their players to pull jerseys. That’s a penalty. Correct call was made

  61. Rodgers could have walked in for the TD. Did the refs tell him to give up the easy TD?

  62. LeFleur in over his head. The Packers wasted their best shot of winning another SB with Rodgers.

  63. I don’t think that was the right time to make that call they were clearly letting the handfighting and extra stuff go all game then you decide when you want to call it? In a big situation like that? Players get a sense of what they can get away with throughout a game. Whats even funnier is how late the flag was thrown

  64. How about Rodgers playing awful in the first half? What about kicking a field goal instead of going for it on 4th and goal? How about Green Bay’s defense not allowing that Hail Mary play at the end of the first half? You can’t blame this loss on one call.

  65. You’d think with the great Aaron Rodgers the Packers would have been able to reach more than one Super Bowl in his career. He’s 0-4 in his last 4 NFC Championship games. Despite all the hype…that’s not good enough.

  66. arealisticpackerfan says:
    January 24, 2021 at 6:49 pm
    Not going to the touchdown on 4th and goal is inexcusable. Another year with an all-time great QB wasted.

    We need a new coach and someone who can fix our historically awful defense.

    ***************
    1-all-time great QB’s don’t consistently lose big games.
    Exhibit A- TB12

    2- you have a new coach, but the same under achieving QB.

  67. Way to go, Lafleur…putting more faith in that “defense” than in your MVP QB that won you 26 games in two seasons.

  68. Good dive by Godwin. Think he knew throw was too high and did an excellent act. There was no grab after earlier in the route (could have called holding on that play and at least 10 other on both teams as DBs are grabby until called) and in the NBA or NHL there would have been a penalty on the O for the dive.

  69. Over the last six games, 20 of 22 TD’s in the red zone and one of the two fails was a kneel down for the win. Matt McCarthy is a genius. Maybe too smart for his own good but I enjoyed it.

  70. jameshodges says:
    January 24, 2021 at 7:48 pm
    How about Rodgers playing awful in the first half? What about kicking a field goal instead of going for it on 4th and goal? How about Green Bay’s defense not allowing that Hail Mary play at the end of the first half? You can’t blame this loss on one call.
    *******

    The one call that should be blamed was kicking a field goal when you’re down by 8 with a little over 2 minutes to play. Packers fans: “We need 8.” Lafleur ” I’ll give you 3.”

  71. There’s no debate here at all. The guy looked like a dog grabbing a kid by a diaper in a “funniest home video”. You can’t do that, and it was unambiguous.

    The correct call was made. It was that blatant.

  72. pbdisciple says:
    January 24, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    Good dive by Godwin. Think he knew throw was too high and did an excellent act. There was no grab after earlier in the route (could have called holding on that play and at least 10 other on both teams as DBs are grabby until called) and in the NBA or NHL there would have been a penalty on the O for the dive.
    ———————————————————-
    Stop with all of this nonsense and just hope next time your coach shows some guts.

  73. Hey delusional Packers fans. Tell me again how Rodgers is the real goat. Brady proved once again again that hes the Goat.
    What kimd of “coach” givesnthe ball to brady with that kind of Time and expects to get it back. Hasn’t he watched any of brady’s games over the past 20 years.
    Superbowl #10 for Brady and 1 for Rodgers.

  74. Remember when interference wouldn’t get called because the ball was uncatchable? What happened to that?

  75. Another playoff game for the packers and another loss.sure would like to see someone else in the playoffs next year..

  76. Refs let them play mostly all game, lots of hand checking, little jersey pulls on both teams on TE/WRs breaks, stuff like that. It was a good game. The last call was correct, and was WAY too obvious not too call. You gotta let go once you pull the jersey like that and he never did. Replays showed him holding with his left hand for multiple steps then switching to his right hand which he continued to grab the jersey. I mean cmon fellas, too easy. Even if they don’t call it what makes you think GB marches down the field in 1min for a Td with TO? GB had their chances today, didn’t make Enough plays.

  77. Tom Brady is in another super bowl. That TD at the end of the first half was a gift. Rodgers had a chance to run in a TD late in the game and passed it up. That last interference call was blatant. Someone with bad eyesight could have seen it from the upper deck. Nothing to complain about. The Packers coaches didn’t coach well, and the players didn’t play their best. Brady was good, but he gave the Pack enough chances, but they didn’t take advantage.

  78. King couldn’t cover anyone all day it was a little too much to expect him to make a play with the game on the line. At least they don’t have a tough decision to make about losing him during free agency.

  79. I had no problem with the officials letting them play all day. I actually prefer it. But as soon as I saw that flag hit the ground to seal the game I knew that was the end of “letting them play”.

    Definitely a penalty but given how the game was called up until that point I’d rather they just let the Bucs defense close it out.

    Great theater though for someone who isn’t a fan of either team

  80. Seriously Pack fans complaints about officiating changing outcome of the game??
    Kicking field goal vs. putting ball in MVP hands makes no sense to me and you’re not the team to complain about calls going against ya 😂

  81. The call was absolutely correct the ref threw a flag on an obvious penalty

    The calls/non calls earlier in the game are irrelevant.

  82. hornedhell says:
    January 24, 2021 at 9:05 pm
    I had no problem with the officials letting them play all day. I actually prefer it. But as soon as I saw that flag hit the ground to seal the game I knew that was the end of “letting them play”.
    ________________

    The best way to not get flagged is to not commit the foul. Nevermind how the game was officiated prior to that.

  83. I love how all of the sudden now in the 2nd to last week of football people expect consistent calls by the refs. I’m not sure the refs let Miller get behind King with a few seconds left in the first half. Not sure how the refs caused Jones to fumble starting the 2nd half and I am not sure how three straight ints by Brady go unanswered by the Pack ….and it’s the refs fault. So. Can somebody say nice defense Tampa.

  84. The problem is not the last call, it was the blatant holding on Rodgers interception where the cb grabbed the shoulder of the receiver to allow him to get pulled into position to make the pick. That led to 7 points. On GBs last possession, they did the same thing to Adam’s on 3rd down which led to an incompletion and a fg instead of 7. That is 11 points right there where the refs impacted the game by allowing them to grab and hold, but then, when they typically let them play a little more, they throw the flag on the biggest play of the game.

    If it wasn’t for them swallowing the whistles the whole day no one would be upset. It’s that was the only time during the game that they finally chose to call a penalty.

  85. Count me in the camp that believed it was a Hold not a PI. But it seemed egregious to call it with the amount of hand fighting and holding that was going on GB receivers ALL GAME LONG! This has been a problem all year in the NFL, frankly

  86. The Packers loss comes down to the last minute or so in the first half…..and the “not going for it on 4th and goal late in the game”
    That is on the head coach
    I can’t remember the defensive backs name who got alligator arms on a potential interception late in the first half…just before the Bucs would have to settle for a FG….then changed their minds and went for it on 4th down…then Brady threw to Scotty Miller for a TD.
    That missed interception probably would have changed things a little

  87. Yet no interference or holding called on Packer interception when Lazard was intended receiver. Critical no call as Tampa Bay subsequently scored touchdown. Obvious penalty missed by officials.

  88. steelercrazy says:
    January 24, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    The best way to not get flagged is to not commit the foul. Nevermind how the game was officiated prior to that.

    Completely agree. I just wished the official would have let the Bucs defense seal the deal to avoid the impending crap storm about the officiating. I prefer when they let them play and now it’ll no doubt be a focus of the rules committee when it doesn’t need to be. These games are so much more enjoyable with less PI, holding and blocking in the back penalties.

  89. I agree that there was missed PI against the Bucs that should have been called, but at game speed and in real time it was not obvious and you can see how it might have been missed. Still, we should expect the refs to get that one right.
    However, the PI against the Packers at the end was blatant and obvious and unquestionably had to be called. We saw four feet of Bucs jersey being pulled; there was no way NOT to call it. That’s not ref bias or some conspiracy theory or a fix. Just a clear defensive PI and an easy call to make.
    Tom Brady has now won as many NFC conference championships as Aaron Rodgers. Let that sink in.

  90. No dog in the fight. Lame call. He was not catching that ball, interference or not. Everyone who watching it knows that. The fact that the broadcast highlighted an obvious hold by the RT on the same play that went uncalled only added to the ridiculousness of it. Oh well. The Bucs could have won fair and square if the game went on but the refs ended it. The NFL got the Brady Mahomes matchup they wanted from day one. I won’t be watching.

  91. “Another year with an all-time great QB wasted.”

    New Orleans Saints: “Hold my beer!”

  92. The PI call was ok but there was a pretty blatant hold on a pass rusher on the same play that went uncalled. It does make it seem like the outcome of the game depends on the whims of different officials (or at least their willingness to throw a flag at a crucial juncture). The alternative would be worse, that they wanted a particular outcome and worked together to get it.

  93. I didn’t truly care which team won but I’m often amazed at how bizarre fan reactions are and in this case both announcers buck and aikman too ! Was there holding throughout the game ? Absolutely ! The refs were letting both teams get away with holding for a stride or two but there is NO WAY that call wasn’t going to be made PERIOD-END OF STORY. 3rd down under 2 minutes and in the middle of the field. He blantently tugged that Jersey for 9 strides! Apparently the NFL WORLD doesn’t understand the game either !!

  94. The call was absolutely correct the ref threw a flag on an obvious penalty

    The calls/non calls earlier in the game are irrelevant.
    =====

    The hold on the Rodgers INT couldn’t be more relevant.

  95. Looks like the Packers made a lateral move at coach. They simply swapped out one timid, Rodgers-reliant HC for another. LaFleur is no better than McCarthy.
    =====

    At least LaFleur has a competent scheme.

    McCarthy couldn’t scheme his way out a wet, torn paper bag.

  96. Tom Brady knows the best plan is to throw it up to his WR and let them make a play. He’s done it his whole career. #JumpBallTom

  97. How long has it been since Aaron Rodgers won his lone SB?

    Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Peyton Manning have all won a SB championships more recently.

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