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Reaction: What they’re saying about James Bradberry’s holding penalty

Should it have been called?

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Tied 35-35 with two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Super Bowl LVII between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs seemed destined for a thrilling finish. Playing on a high ankle sprain, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes lofted a pass to wideout Juju Smith-Schuster on third-and-9, looking for the go-ahead touchdown. The pass sailed out of Smith-Schuster’s reach, seemingly forcing the Chiefs to settle for three and give the ball back to Jalen Hurts and the white-hot Eagles offense with 1:48 to go.

Then, a flag flew.

As referee Carl Cheffers made his way to midfield, it was announced that the Chiefs would be granted a fresh set of downs on a holding penalty by Eagles cornerback — and former New York Giants Pro Bowler — James Bradberry. From there, the Chiefs ran out the clock and ultimately won the game on a Harrison Butker field goal with eight seconds to go. The Eagles would get one last shot with six seconds left, but Hurts’ last-ditch Hail Mary sailed 20 yards short of the end zone as red and yellow confetti rained down for a 38-35 Chiefs win.

After the game, the call became the central talking point, with many fans and pundits alike agreeing that the call was questionable and especially egregious in a Super Bowl that seemed poised to stake a claim as the game’s crowning installment:

While many were quick to criticize the call, surprisingly Bradberry himself was not among them. In a candid postgame interview, the cornerback admitted that he knew he had committed a penalty as soon as the ball was snapped:

In an ending seemingly fitting for the 2022 season, the game’s greatest spectacle turned from an all-time classic to a debate over a late-game call. And while Bradberry may think it was the right call, that decision will be one questioned by fans, pundits, and players alike for years to come.