New NFL Films Footage Upholds the Super Bowl Holding Call

A new angle shows more of a jersey grab by Eagles CB James Bradberry than what viewers saw on television

James Bradberry #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles is called for holding against JuJu Smith-Schuster #9 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona
It was a hold. Other points about the call can be argued.
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Based on recent video footage released by NFL Films, “The Hold” — the controversial holding penalty called against Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry on JuJu Smith-Schuster near the end of Super Bowl LVII that pretty much iced the game for the Kansas City Chiefs — was, in fact, legitimate.

Posted on the NFL subreddit, the clip provides a different angle than the one seen by television viewers. At the four-second mark, and paused for emphasis, Bradberry definitely grabs Smith-Schuster’s jersey in a way that could have impeded the receiver’s route.

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Given that Bradberry himself said he was holding on the play (which doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get a nice fat new contract), this should at least temper some of the remaining skepticism about the call.

Now, there are legitimate arguments. Was this type of call consistently enforced during the game? (Probably not.) Would Mahomes have overthrown the ball even if Smith-Schuster’s jersey wasn’t grabbed? (Probably.) Would the Chiefs kicking a field goal with a minute or so left have made for a better ending where the Eagles could have potentially tied the game and sent it to overtime? (Sure, but think about your liver.) Is Smith-Schuster kind of being a jerk about the whole thing post-game? (Yes.)

One Reddit user pointed out the technically-correct call was the worst possible scenario for the Eagles.

“The most ironic thing about this play is that Bradberry getting beat for a TD would’ve kept the Eagles in the game, but that penalty essentially ended it,” a user going by the name MrGentleZombie said. This is true: Even with a 42-35 advantage, Philadelphia would have had a minute to come back and score…which they had done multiple times already.

Look, it’s not the only reason Philly lost. But for any fan, it would have been nice if one of the best Super Bowls ever didn’t basically end on with a call for something that happens almost every pass play, right or wrong.

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