NFL Referee Who Called Super Bowl-Deciding Holding Penalty Speaks Out

NFL Referee Who Called Super Bowl-Deciding Holding Penalty Speaks Out

Getty Image / David Eulitt

Last night’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles was an instant classic, but many will remember the holding call that decided the game on the final meaningful drive of the contest. It will go down as one of the most consequential calls in Super Bowl history.

Facing a 3rd and 8 at the Eagles’ 15-yard-line with just under two minutes remaining, a first down would effectively end the game for Kansas City, as a chip shot field goal would await them. It put Philadelphia in a precarious position, as the worst result they could have was a first down, as that would be worse than a Chiefs’ touchdown.

Sure enough, Kansas City did get a first down when referee Carl Cheffers flagged Eagles cornerback James Bradberry for holding on Juju Smith-Schuster. That gave the Chiefs a first down, and they bled the clock down to under 10 seconds after the go-ahead and Super Bowl-winning field goal.

Take a look for yourself.

For the record, Bradberry himself said it was holding.

And, after the game, Cheffers spoke out about the holding call.

Referee Carl Cheffers said it was a “clear case of a jersey grab.”

“The receiver went to the inside and he was attempting to release to the outside,” Cheffers told a pool reporter. “The defender grabbed the jersey with his right hand and restricted him from releasing to the outside. So, therefore, we called defensive holding.”

Seems clear-cut enough for me. He definitely did grab him.

Regardless, Philly fans will be thinking about this for a long time.