Super Bowl 56 was everything we want in football games: exciting play and minimal flags thrown that disrupt the flow of the game.
On Sunday, the refs were letting the players decided the game, until they started throwing flags late in the fourth quarter. There was a remarkable lack of penalties for the first 58 minutes of Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals.
With Cincinnati leading by four late in the fourth quarter, the Rams went on a 15-play, 79-yard touchdown drive to take the lead. Sounds good, but then you remember how it got overshadowed by the refs calling several key penalties once LA got into the red zone.
Former NFL head coach Tony Dungy ripped the game’s officiating crew on Twitter.
“The officials were determined to ignore every violation when the ball was in play and only call false starts, delay of game and taunting. They maintained that posture for 58 minutes and 39 seconds. Then they started officiating. That was bad,” Dungy tweeted.
Tony Dungy simply hated their inconsistency.
“No. That was an obvious penalty,” Dungy responded when pressed about the pass interference call against Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson. “But there were several in the first 3 1/2 quarters. Officials would not call obvious penalties. The 3 calls against the Bengals defense at the end were all fouls. But how could you call them after letting everything before that go? Crazy.”
Three key penalties on the Rams’ go-ahead touchdown drive:
- On third and goal from the 8-yard line, Stafford missed Cooper Kupp, but got saved when the Bengals were called for defensive holding penalty that gave LA a first down. Replay showed it was a terrible penalty.
- On the next play, Stafford found Kupp for a four-yard touchdown pass, but another flag on both sides would wipe out the play.
- On the very next play, Stafford threw a pass to Kupp again that fell incomplete, but the Bengals were called for pass interference and it moved the ball to the 1-yard line.