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Super Bowl 57, An “Official” Shame

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What could have gone down in history as one of the most famous Super Bowls in history will instead be remembered for a comedy of errors that, in the end, had no one laughing. A matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes and the Philadelphia Eagles and Jalen Hurts will instead be remembered for terrible field conditions and officiating that can only be described as brutal.

A look at the final numbers shows a game for the ages: Patrick Mahomes throws for three touchdowns and the Chiefs overcome a 10 point halftime deficit to win on a field goal in the waning seconds. On the other hand, 2nd year quarterback Jalen Hurts throws for 304 yards while 2nd year Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni endeared himself to social media; showing tears during the playing of the national anthem. But from the beginning, it was clear something was off. The field at State Farm Stadium was causing issues as players were sliding and falling like they were playing on ice. Broadcasting kept bringing up the safety concerns as players were unable to properly gain traction, an issue the Chiefs expressed concerns over as far back as week 1 that caused the Eagles to change their own cleats at halftime.

But more so, what will be remembered most from last night’s Super Bowl will be the “questionable” holding call that affected the outcome of the game, the latest in a litany of curious calls and non-calls. On the Chief’s final drive, Eagles cornerback James Bradberry was called for defensive holding on JuJu Smith-Schuster on an all important 3rd down and 8. The call in any situation would be a borderline one, with Bradberry himself admitting he was trying to get away with the hold, however with the game tied late and the Eagles low on timeouts, the automatic first down all but killed Philadelphia’s chances of staging a comeback as Kansas City had a fresh set of downs and a near unlimited window to control the clock. Officials by unwritten rule are not supposed to affect the outcomes of games that come down to the wire unless a call is too big to ignore. That call could have should have been ignored. Fast forward to a Chiefs game winning field goal by Harrison Butker and the Eagles had no time to stage a rally. No call on the hold, and they would have. Twitter exploded into rage questioning once again that the game is rigged; a complaint that has been gaining traction in recent years.

Rigged or no, this game was a black mark on the league in it’s biggest stage. Will the NFL hold those responsible accountable for embarrassing their brand in one of the biggest events on the planet? Internally at best, but I doubt the conversation will ever see the light of day. Ratings for the Super Bowl has largely been in decline in recent years (I don’t have this year’s numbers as yet but will update) so this certainly didn’t help. Who knows if this will affect Super Bowl 58 next year, but in the meantime, XFL 3.0 starts next week and I’m REALLY hoping it sticks this time. Third time’s the charm.

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