Tom Brady screams at refs after Panthers-Patriots ends in controversy

The Panthers-Patriots game featured one of the strangest endings of the year. A bad call, two pissed off quarterbacks and some embarrassed officials.

Nothing's easy. The Carolina Panthers fought hard for a 24-20 win over the Patriots, cementing their place among the ranks of Super Bowl contenders. It just couldn't end without controversy.

Improbably, the Patriots drove down to the Panthers' 18-yard line. Tom Brady had one last shot at the end zone. Rob Gronkowski doesn't get wrapped up too often (high-five, bro!), but one ref thought he did here and threw a flag. The refs picked up the flag and declared that the game was over.

Carpi_medium

It's been a pretty rough weekend for the officials -- the regular officials. Trent Williams was allegedly called a "fat ass" by one zebra. Now this.

Tom Brady wasn't happy about it. And neither was Ryan Mallet, who made a cameo in that impromptu meeting with the ref racing to get off the field.

After the game, things got really strange at Bill Belichick's press conference. Silence brought on by audio problems, timid reporters and a dazed coach at the podium. Watch:

Here's Mike Pereira on the call:

ESPN's official expert, er, expert official, er, rules guy, stuck to the uncatchable thing. I can't imagine we've heard the last opinions on the matter.

The flag was thrown for defensive pass interference. As explained by Pats Pulpit, it met the requirements for DPI, except for one big gray area ... the uncatchable ball notion. From Rule 8, Section 5:

Permissible Acts:

(c) Contact that would normally be considered pass interference, but the pass is clearly uncatchable by the involved players.

Was it uncatchable? That's what we'll be debating for awhile. Gronk was behind where Robert Lester intercepted the ball. Had he been positioned there, even without Kuechly wrapped around him, it looks like Lester had the ball, thus making it uncatchable. But it's tough to say for sure. That's what the refs thought:

So there was a determination that, in essence, uncatchability, that the ball was intercepted at or about the same time the primary contact against the receiver occurred.

The back judge who threw the flag would have only seen Gronk and Kuechly. The refs who overruled the DPI call made the determination that the ball was uncatchable.

Officials didn't screw up the call so much as they screwed up the explanation of it by not explaining it at all until after the game.

More from SB Nation NFL

Controversial finish to Patriots-Panthers game | Brady is angry

2014 NFL mock draft: How high should Johnny Football go?

NFL Debrief: Denver vs. KC was the game you deserved

Controversial finish to Patriots-Panthers game

Takeaways: Quarterback quandaries and playoff potential

Breaking Madden: Pat McAfee, Destroyer of Worlds | More

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.