Were Falcons jobbed in the Brady roughness call?

by Gary Shelton on October 12, 2022

in general

Does Brady get special protection?/TIM WIRT

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

Somewhere in his office, beneath the oaken desk where he hides so he doesn't have to make a decision, Roger Goodell cannot make up his mind.

Was it roughing the passer? Wasn't it?

On one hand, it was Tom Brady, a commodity in Goodell's version of football.

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On the other hand, Johnny Unitas would have taken such a blow, spit out a little blood, and kept playing.

On still another hand, the world was just afire because Goodell wasn't protecting quarterback, like Miami's Tua Tagovailoa. After all, refs stood by as Tua got broken recently.

On a fourth hand, Grady Jarrett did kind of have fun spinning Brady like a top, which is a very poplar thing for a lot of NFL fans with Brady Backlash to see.

So there sits Goodell, confused as ever, trying to determine exactly what roughing the passer is. Like most of us, he can't quite figure it out.

I'll be honest. When I first saw Brady bounced, I thought it was an aggressive move, but I didn't think it was illegal. Of course, I thought the Falcons had interfered with Scotty Miller flagrantly on the previously play, so what did I know?

At the time, I admit, I thought of Michael Jordan driving to the basket, and how he got every call along the way. I thought of Greg Maddux, throwing a ball eight inches outside and getting a strike call. Greatness gets the calls. There is nothing new about it.

But I also believe this. Brady has won so much, and accomplished so much, that some people are dying to see him get his comeuppance.

But the numbers say this. Brady really hasn't gotten a lot of breaks from the officials over the years. Honestly, he hasn't.

This year, the call against Jarrett was the first roughing the passer call that Brady has gotten all year, and he's thrown 207 passes behind a rebuilt offensive line.

Lats year, he had none. Since 2018, he's thrown 1,175 passes. He's drawn eight roughing the passer calls. He's been sacked 99 times.

So the numbers don't compute. There isn't a hands-off Brady mandate (and there shouldn't be). If you think quarterbacks (like Derek Carr of Oakland), are protected, well, you have problem with the game. Not with a certain quarterback.

I once did a story on aging NFL veterans who were struggling with their health. The league had shrugged for too long about their injuries, and many of them limped or suffer long-term head damage.

You know what shocked me? The fans who responded felt those guys had earned their paydays and should just shut up. Fans can be a bloodthirsty lot, especially when it's someone else's blood.

You want to know what I believe? I believe that, if I was referee Jerome Boger, I would have kept the flag in my pocket. But I think if I were another ref, I would have thrown a flag long and hard over the Miller play.

I believe Boger wasn't cheating. I think he was a professional who saw a violation and called it. You can disagree if you want. But there was no favoritism, no bias, no skullduggery.

If he made a mistake, he did it on the side of caution.

Frankly, that's understandable.

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