For years, Tom Brady’s critics have claimed that the quarterback gets specialtreatment from referees.
A play on Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles may have added to the suspicion.
As Brady threw a long interception late in the first half and the play was still live, a referee appeared to intercede between him and defensive end Derek Barnett as Barnett began to block the quarterback.
Former Eagles tight end Clay Harbor called out the moment on Twitter.
Citing the NFL rulebook, Yahoo noted that “the quarterback is deemed to be in a defenseless position until he assumes a distinctly defensive position.”
And Brady seemed to react passively at first. But the play was live and evolving, and the seven-time Super Bowl winner began to pursue the ball carrier for a potential tackle while the referee remained between them.
Brady threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns to lead the defending Super Bowl champions to a 28-22 victory. But did he get an assist from a guy in stripes, too?
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.