NFL Players and Fans React to Controversial Super Bowl LVII Ending After Referees' Holding Call on Eagles

NFL Players and Fans React to Controversial Super Bowl LVII Ending After Referees' Holding Call on Eagles

Joel Reyes
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:25 PM
  • Referees found a way to steal the limelight at Super Bowl LVII, with fans blasting their late holding penalty against the Eagles
  • The Kansas City Chiefs were able to waste the clock, getting an automatic first down because of the penalty in their favour
  • Players and fans shared their reactions on social media afterwards about the call they claimed ruined the Super Bowl game

A controversial Super Bowl - what else is new?

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles waged a showdown for the ages on Sunday, with both teams trading blows from start to finish for the right to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Super Bowl LVII was tightly contested with the game tied at 35-35 heading into the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, but the ending was marred by controversy after the referees called a late holding penalty against the Eagles.

Super Bowl LVII, Super Bowl, Super Bowl referees, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles
NFL referee Carl Cheffers does the coin toss before Super Bowl LVII between the Eagles and Chiefs at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. Image: Rob Carr.
Source: Getty Images

The stage was set for a dramatic finish, with the Chiefs facing a 3rd-and-8 with 1:54 remaining in the contest, per Yahoo! Sports.

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A stop by Philly here would have ensured the Eagles one more shot to march down the field for a Super Bowl-winning touchdown drive.

Holding penalty dooms the Eagles

When Patrick Mahomes overshot JuJu Smith-Schuster with a pass to the end zone, it looked like Eagles fans and neutrals would get their wish and see that aforementioned scenario unfold.

Unfortunately for them, that did not transpire as the referees threw a flag on the play for a holding penalty against Philadelphia.

The player who drew the flag was Eagles cornerback, James Bradberry. He was penalised for holding Smith-Schuster during his route, giving the Chiefs an automatic first down, per Slate.

The call was a back-breaker for the Eagles, who watched the Chiefs bleed the clock and eventually kick the game-winning field goal with just eight seconds left.

Reactions to controversial call

Players and fans reacted furiously to the call, blaming the referees for spoiling the ending to an instant classic.

Mahomes takes home MVP award

Sports Brief also reported on Mahomes winning the MVP award for Super Bowl LVII, completing 21 of 27 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns as the Chiefs won.

He threw two of those touchdowns in the fourth quarter to turn a 21-27 deficit into a 35-27 lead for Kansas City.

After the Eagles tied the game at 35, Mahomes led the Chiefs down the field with his 26-yard scramble, helping set up Harrison Butker’s game-winning field goal.

Joel Reyes photo
Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.