Referee congratulates Tom Brady, firing up conspiracy theories

Shutdown Corner

If you’re of a conspiratorial mindset, you can find plenty to satisfy your “the NFL rigged the game for the Patriots” theories. And here’s a beauty: the first guy to congratulate Tom Brady after the New England Patriots 24-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars was … referee Clete Blakeman:

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As the clock runs out, you can see Blakeman giving Brady congratulations on advancing to his eighth Super Bowl. Evidence of conspiracy? Of course not. But it’s more than enough to set off the anti-Patriots contingent … which, at this point, includes pretty much everyone outside of Massachusetts and some lame bandwagoners.

Add that to the fact that the Patriots had exactly one — ONE — penalty called against them all game. Per NFL Research, that’s the fewest penalties called on one team in a playoff game since the 2011 AFC championship … when the Patriots had exactly one penalty called on them in a victory against the Baltimore Ravens.

Good game, Tom. (Via screen shot)
Good game, Tom. (Via screen shot)

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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