Ref “explains” egregious Falcons roughing the passer call

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The Falcons lost to the Buccaneers on Sunday by a score of 21-15, but the story of the afternoon has been referee Jerome Boger’s inexplicitly egregious roughing the passer call on Grady Jarrett.

Atlanta had just scored a touchdown and converted a two-point conversion to pull within one score. Tampa Bay had struggled to move the ball offensively in the fourth quarter. Down six points with just over three minutes left to play, the Falcons appeared to have stopped the Bucs near midfield via Grady Jarrett sacking Tom Brady on third down. What unfolded next was absolutely unbelievable.

Boger said that Jarrett “unnecessarily” threw Brady to the ground as part of his explanation for the call.

“What I had was the defender grabbed the quarterback while he was still in the pocket and unnecessarily throwing him to the ground,” Boger said. “That is what I was making my decision based on.”

Below is the full exchange with Boger:

Brady has long been a beneficiary of calls going his way, dating all the way back to the Tuck Rule in the 2001 AFC Divisional Game. It’s the worst-kept secret in professional sports, and even his own teammates know it.

Bucs’ right tackle Tristan Wirfs said, “I think with Tom being who he is, he’s gonna get those calls more than not.”

Todd Bowles, on the other hand, believes the quarterback being Tom Brady didn’t factor in Boger’s decision to make the call, referencing the Tua Tagovailoa hit a couple of weeks ago.

“I saw that one being called. I saw it against Tua since he got it. I saw it in the London game this morning,” Bowles said. “So I think they’re starting to crack down on some of the things, slinging back, I don’t know. Right now, the way that they’re calling it, I think a lot of people would have gotten that call.”

But if you look at Boger’s full statement, he literally states, “No, not necessarily,” when asked whether the Tagovailoa hit promoted instruction from the league to watch for those particular hits.

The call has brought outrage from all corners of the league — from players to former coaches to commentators to media personalities.

The outrage was vast, but Arthur Smith’s knee-jerk reaction sums it up perfectly for how Falcons fans felt after the call.

I’m no lip reader, but those certainly weren’t words of encouragement from Smith. Everyone and their mother has a right to be pissed about that call because it came at such a pivotal point in the game and crushed Atlanta’s hopes of making any sort of comeback. I understand trying to protect the players, but the league has to get involved in situations like these when it is very clearly the wrong call. Boger’s explanation was bullshit, and Brady being baby’d by the NFL is bullshit.

Photographer: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

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