NFL referee Jerome Boger in a Nov. 2020 game. Nov 29, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; NFL referee Jerome Boger (23) during the second quarter between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cleveland Browns at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

A late call in the Atlanta Falcons-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game Sunday outraged everyone from announcers to fans and media. That call saw the Falcons’ Grady Jarrett penalized for roughing the passer after a sack of Bucs’ QB Tom Brady. That gave the Bucs a first down instead of fourth and long, and paved the way for them to get one further first down and kneel out the clock. Here’s how that happened, and the immediate criticism it took from Fox’s Daryl Johnston and Joe Davis:

The storm of criticism over this further intensified later following the transcription of the comments referee Jerome Boger (seen above in a Nov. 2020 game) made on this decision after the game to Professional Football Writers of America pool reporter Greg Auman of The Athletic:

Here’s the fuller quote on that from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, which includes Boger’s response to Auman’s follow-up on if this had anything to do with the recent controversial injury to Miami Dolphins‘ QB Tua Tagavailoa:

Many media members and fans on Twitter were not thrilled with Boger’s explanation:

Many Falcons’ players also weren’t happy with this call afterwards, as per the story at The Athletic Auman wrote with Josh Kendall and other colleagues:

“It was crazy because it was just a regular sack,” Falcons running back Caleb Huntley said. “It wasn’t anything extra on Grady’s part, but I guess the referee saw it the other way. Had we got the ball, we probably wouldn’t be sitting in here sad and mad about the outcome of this game.”

…“Obviously, from my vantage point, it looked like it was a bad call, but that’s why you put the refs out there to make these calls,” Falcons cornerback Casey Hayward said. “They pay these guys to make these calls. It looked bad from my standpoint, but I was in the back end.”

Falcons safety Erik Harris added: “They made a call and they rode with it. Obviously the situation like that, it hurts. We’re upset about it, but it is what it is, move forward.”

We’ll see where the talk about this goes from here.

[The Athletic; photo from Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.