While it’s become somewhat of a national pastime to suggest the NFL officials are in the bag for the New England Patriots, it seems liked not even the biggest of conspiracy theorists could quibble with two penalties that were called on the Jacksonville Jaguars just before halftime on Sunday.
Of course, the key word there is “seemed.”
CBS analyst Boomer Esiason took issue with at least one of the calls during halftime of the AFC championship, saying he didn’t agree with the pass interference call on A.J. Bouye and that New England’s home-field advantage played a role . The penalty, which looked like a penalty to these eyes, put the Patriots in prime position to close the Jaguars’ lead to 14-10.
Those ended up being big points as the Patriots walked away with a 24-20 win to send them to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
“It’s Gillette Stadium so the flags have to come out, don’t they boys?” Esiason said.
As for Esiason’s feelings on Barry Church’s helmet to helmet hit that drove Rob Gronkowski from the game? Well, he let Doug Marrone speak for it there, saying that the Jaguars coach agreed with the call (as well he should have).
Boomer Esiason: “It’s Gillette Stadium so the flags have to come out, don’t they boys?” pic.twitter.com/nxeBOc2h0C
— Kevin Kaduk (@KevinKaduk) January 21, 2018
Here’s the transcription of the full clip:
“But how about this one? Doug Marrone said this was the right call. Barry Church, helmet to helmet, unnecessary roughness. Now it’s Gillette Stadium so the flags have to come out, don’t they boys? They come out in favor of the Patriots, I don’t know about this call on A.J. Bouye.”
While Bouye’s actions on Brandin Cooks were a little more open to interpretation than Church’s, CBS viewers didn’t think Esiason was in the right to suggest a conspiracy.
And not all of them were Patriots fans!
@7BOOMERESIASON how can u possibly claim those were friendly home field penalty flags?? Gronk got nearly knocked out and the pass interference play was clear as can be. (From a Bear fan). C’mon man
— JJG34 (@jjg34) January 21, 2018
@7BOOMERESIASON Easiest interference call of year – do you think you can ride a receiver out of bounds with ball in the air!?
— Jim LaFrance (@JimLaFrance) January 21, 2018
— Andy Dufresne (@oldandydufresne) January 21, 2018
Because it’s the Patriots, logic and reason tend to go out the window when we’re talking about public debates. But what do you think? Did the Pats get any home-cooking on the Bouye call?
What about any of the calls in the second half? This probably adds fuel to Patriots haters:
The Patriots were called for 1 penalty against the Jaguars
It is the fewest penalties called on one team in a playoff game since the 2011 AFC Championship… when the Patriots were called for 1 penalty in a win over the Ravens
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) January 21, 2018
Whatever the case, referee Clete Blakeman being among the first to congratulate Tom Brady after the final snap isn’t going to help the perception that the zebras prefer red, white and blue to black and white.
First guy to congratulate Brady? Number 34. What a teammate! pic.twitter.com/azXq3qgN43
— OurState_CSU (@OurStateCSU) January 21, 2018
More NFL coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Ugly helmet-to-helmet hit knocks Gronk out of title game
• New England breathes easy as Brady ditches glove
• Win or lose, Philly lampposts are greased up for fan riots
• Vikings fans get a very Philly-esque welcome