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Just like the AFC Championship game two weeks ago, the Super Bowl ended on a controversial call by NFL referees that gave the Kansas City Chiefs a game-winning field goal. This time, it was — what many saw — as a soft defensive holding call on Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry. The call drew the ire of Philly fans and football fans around the internet, including some prominent ones like LeBron James. However, one key person did stick up for the zebras.

LeBron James and other celebrities didn’t like the penalty call

NFL referees, LeBron James, Super Bowl, James Bradberry
Lebron James at the Super Bowl | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Chiefs were about to go ahead in the Super Bowl, but a not-so-smart incompletion stopped the clock before a potential go-ahead field goal. Patrick Mahomes was about to give his team the lead, but it looked like he left Jalen Hurts and the Eagles with 1:54 to win the game.

However, none of this mattered after NFL referee Carl Cheffers’ crew threw a ticky-tack defensive holding flag on the Eagles’ James Bradberry, effectively ending the game and giving it to the Chiefs.

FOX announcer Greg Olsen didn’t like the call, nor did most social media users who sent “rigged” rushing up the trending topics list.

LeBron James, who took in the Super Bowl live from a luxury box in Arizona, didn’t like it either, and he sent a series of Tweets sharing his displeasure.

“Sorry but I don’t like that call! Not for the Super Bowl man!” James tweeted first before following that up with, “His hand on his back had no effect on his route! This game was too damn good for that call to dictate the outcome at the end. Damn! By the way I have no horse in the race. Just my professional opinion.”

James wasn’t the only celebrity or athlete who didn’t like this great Super Bowl ending on a bad call by NFL referees.

Barstool Sport’s Dave Portnoy joined the conversation, tweeting, “What a great game. In hindsight pretty terrible call to decide such an unreal superbowl Both QB’s played out of their minds.”

Former NFL QB and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky called the penalty “Absolutely awful,” and his fellow former NFLer-turned-ESPN-star Ryan Clark said, “Looks like the official read the script!”

Even former USMNT soccer star Taylor Twellman weighed in, tweeting, “Penalty was NOT ‘clear & obvious’ yet the @NFL officials had to make it about them. Ball was NOT even catchable which has me baffled with that law and why not have the ability to challenge bad calls.

And all this is just a sampling of what people were saying about the call that changed the Super Bowl. However, there was one key person who supported the NFL referees’ call.

Carl Cheffers and company have one unlikely supporter

While football fans around the NFL universe took to social media to tee off on the NFL referees deciding the Super Bowl, there was one person who defended the call after the game ended, and it was someone you wouldn’t expect.

James Bradberry stood by his locker after the game answering all the reporters’ questions about the loss and the call. The soon-to-be free agent was a standup guy about the situation, refusing to blame others for the incident.

Bradberry ultimately told reporters that he believes it was the right call.

“It was a holding. I tugged his jersey,” Bradberry admitted, per Mike Giardi on Twitter. “I was hoping they would let it slide.”

Agree or disagree with the NFL referees’ target of the controversial flag in the Super Bowl, you have to respect Bradberry taking this one on the chin.


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