Official Congratulates Tom Brady Kicking off Conspiracy Theories

After the New England Patriots finished their come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, it appeared that a referee "congratulated" Tom Brady. At least, that's how conspiracy theorists saw it.

Twitter user OurState_CSU posted a video from the end of the game, in which referee Clete Blakeman pats Brady on the back. He then pats Brady on the front, and it looks like he congratulated him.

"First guy to congratulate Brady? Number 34. What a teammate," OurState_CSU wrote. His video of the scene has been watched over 4.13 million times, retweeted 61,300 times and liked 122,000 times.

Then again, the video also shows Jaguars player Lerentee McCray also congratulating Brady.

WEEI also pointed out that the Patriots were only 2-4 with Blakeman as referee before Sunday.

Another image from the game that appears to show a referee celebrating the Patriots scoring during the game also went viral. A screenshot of a ref smiling after the Patriots made the score 14-10 just before the end of the second quarter.

Sporting News posted video of the scene, in which Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson is in the middle of two Patriots players. The official runs over, trying to break up the scene. Patriots offensive lineman Cameron Fleming tells the official he was not talking trash. However he made his case, the judge found it funny.

Another official, back judge Tony Steratore, is also seen not smiling at all.

The conspiracy theorists' case that the fix was in is strengthened by the huge advantage the Patriots had over the Jaguars when it came to penalties. The Patriots were only flagged once, for 10 yards, and it was not an offensive or defensive penalty. Meanwhile, the Jaguars were penalized 98 yards from six penalties.

According to NFL Research, the last time only one penalty was called on a team in an AFC Championship game was when the Patriots only had one penalty during the 2011 AFC Championship Game.


The 24-20 victory over the Jaguars sent the Patriots to their third Super Bowl in four years. They will play the Philadelphia Eagles, who the Patriots beat in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Super Bowl LII will kick off on Feb. 4 on NBC.