NFL referees were tired of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce getting all the media spotlight and inserted themselves into the limelight on Sunday Night Football, potentially determining the outcome of the Kansas City Chiefs‘ 23-20 victory over the New York Jets.
The Chiefs benefited from a suspect holding penalty on a critical third-down incompletion. Sound familiar?
Sauce Gardner and Marquez Valdes-Scantling were playing physically on the outside, and Patrick Mahomes threw the ball wide, which was picked off, but the officials thought the play was too physical and threw the penalty flag.
The penalty call and the result were eerily similar to what occurred during the Super Bowl when the Chiefs benefited from a questionable call on CB James Bradberry during their victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Many around the league point to the Chiefs receiving the benefit of the call in these situations, calling for favoritism for Kansas City.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh was irate at the call and let the sideline judge have it. Following Mahomes’ third-down run with less than two minutes to go, subsequently icing the game away, Saleh went back for more and let the official have it again, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Suffice it to say, football fans felt similar to the Jets head coach and were not pleased with the penalty flag. Social media had its say, venting various frustrations to the world.
What Did Social Media Say About the Penalty on Sauce Gardner?
Some on social media pointed out how rare it is to see an unsportsmanlike penalty called on an NFL head coach for vocalizing their displeasure over a penalty flag. Saleh must have gotten his money’s worth on this one.
A pissed off Robert Saleh at the end of the game….
Rarely hear an official call a penalty on the head coach: pic.twitter.com/v48zlGcNIZ
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 2, 2023
Some of the local beat writers and media members who cover the Jets were quick to point out the inconsistencies of the referees and how the Chiefs were not getting flagged for holding on other critical plays throughout the game.
Robert Saleh was irate over the defensive holdings. Wait until he gets a look at this one.
Insane this wasn’t called. pic.twitter.com/lU5uGF5lEv
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) October 2, 2023
Some on social media pointed out that the referee didn’t throw the penalty flag until he saw the intercepted pass. Social media doubled down on the notion that the referees determined the hard-fought contest, suggesting the NFL should be embarrassed by the result.
Robert Saleh knows it. Everyone on the #Jets sideline knows it. The refs decided this game.
Referee saw the INT and threw the flag after it happened. Decided the game.
NFL should be embarrassed. This was disgusting.
— The Jet Press (@TheJetPress) October 2, 2023
Some on social media suggest there will be additional fallout following this result and that we will discuss the referee’s impact in this one for days to come.
Robert Saleh is upset and he may be upset for good reason. That last holding call will be talked about for a few days pic.twitter.com/KM7mXxFYCQ
— Bussin' With The Boys (@BussinWTB) October 2, 2023