After the New England Patriots won a close 24-20 game over the Jacksonville Jaguars, sending them to yet another Super Bowl, theories abounded.
A referee, Clete Blakeman, was spotted walking to Tom Brady and patting him on the back to get his attention. Then he patted him on the chest, signifying that he did a nice job.
First guy to congratulate Brady? Number 34. What a teammate! pic.twitter.com/azXq3qgN43
— OurState_CSU (@OurStateCSU) January 21, 2018
— BlondienFL (@WandaWCarpenter) January 22, 2018
“First guy to congratulate Brady? Number 34. What a teammate!” joked one person on Twitter about the referee.
Jacksonville accrued six penalties for 98 yards in the game, including a costly pass interference call that put the Patriots well within scoring distance at the end of the first half.
— The Brit Chief ?? (@BritChiefUK) January 21, 2018
The Patriots were called for one penalty all game.
Another person noted that a ref was smiling during a Patriots touchdown.
The combination of the referees’ actions and the disparity between the penalties for both teams appeared suspicious to many on social media.
•1st half pass interference on Bouye was a weak call, Cooks is too small
•Myles Jack wasn’t touched down on that forced fumble and recovery and would have scored if the ref didn’t blow his whistle
Can’t beat the Patriots and the officials pic.twitter.com/fMwCuQkdan
— Zack Tyson (@ZipTy4) January 21, 2018
This coverage was so dominant that they basically threw a pity flag for Cooks. Crushed off the field pic.twitter.com/SC3PbW3hco
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) January 21, 2018
The Patriots are slated to play the Philadelphia Eagles during Super Bowl 52 on Sunday, Feb. 4.