The NFL world blasted the officials for a controversial holding call that they had otherwise avoided all game

Scott Davis
·2 min read
matt lafluer nfc championshiop
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur reacts to a call during the NFC Championship. Mike Roemer/AP Images
  • Officials called a controversial holding penalty late in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship.

  • While the call was correct, many in the NFL world criticized the refs for not making calls on similar plays throughout the game.

  • Despite the iffy officiating, the Packers lost the game themselves, including kicking a field goal on 4th-and-goal, down eight points, with two minutes to play.

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The Green Bay Packers' hopes of getting the ball back for a game-winning drive in the NFC Championship were essentially zapped by a controversial holding call with 1:41 left to play in the game.

Trailing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by five, on 3rd-and-4, Packers cornerback Kevin King was called for holding on Bucs receiver Tyler Johnson.

The call was controversial for several reasons. First, the flag was late, catching most on the field by surprise when it was thrown.

The holding was also minimal, though replays showed King did, in fact, hold Johnson.

Here was the play:

A closer look at the hold:

While the call was correct, many in the NFL world criticized the officialas for otherwise avoiding such calls throughout the game. There appeared to be numerous instances of pass interference or holding on the Buccaneers throughout the game.

One such instance, from the first half:

Analysts were surprised to see the officials throw a flag on King.

Of course, the Packers only have themselves to blame for the loss, regardless of the officiating.

The Packers played a sloppy game from start to finish.

  • They allowed the Bucs to convert 9-of-14 third downs.

  • They allowed the Bucs to score a 39-yard touchdown with six seconds left in the first half.

  • They intercepted Brady three times in the second half but only scored once off of the turnovers.

Finally, trailing by eight with 2:05 left to play in the game, they opted to kick a field goal on 4th-and-goal instead of going for the end zone. The play call will live in infamy, as it didn't put the game in presumptive MVP Aaron Rodgers' hands. It also was a bet that Tom Brady would give them the ball back - a bold bet that failed.

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