James Bradberry gives verdict on controversial Super Bowl penalty

The Philadelphia Eagles cornerback committed a decisive defensive holding penalty late on in Super Bowl 57

Harry Latham-Coyle
Monday 13 February 2023 08:27 GMT
Kansas Chiefs celebrate winning 2023 Super Bowl

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry has admitted that he was correctly penalised for defensive holding after a controversial flag late in Super Bowl 57.

A final minute field goal from Harrison Butker sealed victory for the Kansas City Chiefs, with the Eagles pipped 38-35 in a thrilling contest.

With the scores level deep in the fourth quarter, Bradberry’s subtle tug on the jersey of Chiefs receiver Juju Smith-Schuster drew the throwing of a penalty flag, granting Kansas City a first down despite Patrick Mahomes’ pass falling incomplete.

The new set of downs allowed the Chiefs to run the clock down, setting up Butker for the go-ahead kick with eight seconds left.

While Bradberry appeared to only make minimal contact with Smith-Schuster, the Eagles cornerback conceded that he could have no complaints about the decision to throw the flag.

“It was a holding [penalty]. I tugged his jersey,” Bradberry admitted.

“I was hoping they would let it slide.”

Kansas City was able to essentially run out the clock from that point forward. Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon made a smart move on the ensuing down, purposefully sliding 2 yards short of the goal line instead of scoring a touchdown.

Mahomes then was able to kneel twice as the clock ran down after the Eagles used their final timeout.

While his crew had generally allowed plenty of contact from defenders throughout a back-and-forth encounter, referee Carl Cheffers insisted that the penalty came after a “clear case of a jersey grab”.

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

Mahomes was named Super Bowl MVP after leading the Chiefs to victory with three passing touchdowns.

The 27-year-old became the first player to win both the Super Bowl and the league’s MVP award in the same season since Kurt Warner in 1999.

Additional reporting by AP

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