Finally, a Monday Night Football game that delivers. The Panthers' victory over the Patriots was great from start to finish -- the kind of game that someone without a rooting interest in either team could enjoy. The Panthers are legit. The Patriots are resilient. It was 1 million times better than watching Sunday's Vikings game.
We include in this glowing review the game's final play -- controversial, to be sure, but a call that we thought was simply great. In case you missed it (video above), Tom Brady's final desperate pass was intercepted in the end zone. An official threw a flag initially, presumably for Luke Kuechly's coverage of Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, but after a conference the officials picked up the flag and ruled no penalty. Game over.
We saw it live. We've watched the replay half a dozen times. Was Gronkowski held? Of course he was. Is there any way in the world he is able to stop his momentum before being held and adjust to a ball underthrown by at least two yards? No. The above explanation by Gerry Austin makes perfect sense.
That same play could unfold 100 times, and Gronkowski would not be able to make a play -- held or not -- and catch the ball 100 times. That's our subjective viewpoint, and surely others see it differently, but that's also the nature of pass interference -- one of the most subjective important rulings in all of sports officiating.
Too often an offense is bailed out. Not on Monday, with a great call to end a great game.