Quick whistle cost the Jacksonville Jaguars a trip to the Super Bowl


The Jacksonville Jaguars had a few chances to put the New England Patriots away last Sunday, but one opportunity was taken away by a quick whistle.

The Jacksonville Jaguars were minutes away from making it to this year’s Super Bowl. They held a 20-10 lead against the greatest dynasty in the history of football in the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game.

Then Tom Brady happened.

Yes, the Jaguars lost to the New England Patriots primarily because Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. He made the plays at the end of the game and the Jaguars didn’t – it’s as simple as that.

Except it isn’t.

The Jaguars did make a play. Myles Jack made one of the most athletic plays of the year, crossing the entire field to tackle Dion Lewis on a trick play to force a fumble after a huge gain.

Had this play been called correctly, the Jaguars would have had a 27-10 lead and likely would have been able to salt the game away. Tom Brady is great, but there’s only so much time on the clock and a 17 point lead with less than 10 minutes to go is a tough ask.

Mike Pereira, the former NFL head of officiating, noted the call was wrong but said it’s a tough ask of the officials.

"“That play was incredibly hard to officiate,” Pereira told Peter King of SI.com. “In a second, the ball is loose, maybe re-possessed, maybe recovered by the other team, and maybe the recovering player was touched as he fell. All in about a second. No one really questioned that in real time, only after watching it over and over again. That’s about the most difficult call an official would have to make. . . . Officiating anymore is not realistic.”"

Yes, officiating is difficult but the reality is that, given how many times a quick whistle has affected a game, officials should err on the side of caution and let these kinds of situations play out. It’s a fumble, so it’s automatically going to be reviewed anyway – there’s absolutely no reason the official should call it dead without being sure.

The Jaguars still had opportunities to win this game despite the obvious bad call, but it’s hard enough to beat the Patriots. It’s virtually impossible to beat them when they catch all the breaks and you don’t. On Sunday the Patriots caught numerous breaks and the Jaguars didn’t. And now they’re home.