NFL Analyst Believes Controversial Foul Call on Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tyler Johnson Was the Right Decision to Make

Published 01/25/2021, 3:08 PM EST
Jan 24, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with his teammates after beating the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have booked their place in the Super Bowl. The Buccaneers defeated the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game. And now, the Buccaneers will play their first and only playoff game in their own stadium; the Super Bowl against defending champions Kansas City Chiefs.

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However, the NFC championship game was not without its controversies. The Packers had a foul called against them when Kevin King pulled the shirt of Buccaneers’ wide receiver, Tyler Johnson. It was declared a pass interference foul, but many fans have questioned the legitimacy of the foul.

Jan 24, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

NFL analyst Mike Pereira spoke about the incident from the game. He explained why the foul call was absolutely correct. He pointed out that the pulling on the jersey led Johnson to slow down in his pursuit of the ball. Had that interruption not taken place, Johnson would have been able to receive it without a struggle.

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“(It is) completely different because here what you have is a huge stretch of the jersey, and it took a step away from Johnson. So it is absolutely pass interference. And the pass is catchable. Johnson could have got there if he didn’t get pulled back by the jersey pull.” 

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Periera further added that while the foul may have been called late, that doesn’t take away from the offense. He explained that the foul may have been called late due to the placement of the official. The official must be able to cover the distance and throw the flag at the right position, given that it is a spot foul.

“A lot of reference made to the fact that it was so late and I understand that but it was also called by an official that was 20 yards away from the play and you’ve got to run up, it’s a spot foul, and try to get that flag to the sport where the foul occurred.” 

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Pereira understands that Packers fans point to several occurrences during the game that were not ruled in their favor. But he believes none were as egregious as the shirt pull from Kevin King on Tyler Johnson. He gave his commiserations to the Packers fans but said that it was a fair ruling.

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“To me, it wasn’t late either, but I understand five penalties in the game that people are going to try to compare with others they let go. But the ones they let go were the hand fighting, the quick jersey grab. Nothing like that big stretch of the jersey. So I say good call, tough for the Packers fans and the Packers to take, but the right call.”

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Are the Packers fans right to be upset over the call? It was a fair decision according to the letter of football law. But blown calls at different points in the game make this an even tougher pill to swallow.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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