Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry claimed that the controversial late-game holding penalty against him in Super Bowl LVII was the correct call following his team's 38-35 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday (February 12) night.
“It was a holding," Bradberry told reporters when asked about his coverage on Chiefs wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster via NFL Network's Mike Giardi. "I tugged his jersey. I was hoping they would let it slide."
Bradberry was called for holding on a pass that sailed over Smith-Schuster's head, which would have resulted in a forced fourth down by the Eagles defense with 1:54 remaining. Instead, Kansas City forced Philadelphia to use its final timeout before running down he clock prior to Butker's game-winning kick.
"Oh yes, a hundred percent," Smith-Schuster told reporters when asked if he thought he was held on the play via NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. "My route was strike in, strike back out. I mean, Bradberry's a good player but I feel like, at some day, the call's going to be the call."
Referee Carl Cheffers explained his reasoning for the call to reporters after the game and claimed there was "no debate" on whether the play should have resulted in a flag.
"The receiver went to the inside, and he was attempting to release to the outside," Cheffers said. "The defender grabbed the jersey with his right hand and restricted him from releasing to the outside. So, therefore, we called defensive holding.
Smith-Schuster finished Sunday's game with seven receptions for 53 yards, playing a crucial role in the Chiefs' offensive push in the second half. Kansas City outscored Philadelphia, 24-11, in the second half, which included 17 points in the fourth quarter and scoring on each possession of the final two quarters.
Smith-Schuster signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Chiefs this past offseason after spending his entire career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kansas City has now won three Super Bowls in franchise history, which included winning Super Bowl LIV in February 2020.