By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — There are millions of otherwise normal people whose brains apparently melt down into some radioactive goo every time Tom Brady and the Patriots win another big football game.

That’s at least the only plausible explanation for the latest “CONTROVERSY” surrounding New England’s football team, after the Patriots’ incredible 24-20 comeback over the Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game. This “CONTROVERSY” stems from referee Clete Blakeman … (get ready for this) … (I hope you’re sitting down) … tapping Brady on the back and chest and congratulating him for the win.

Sorry. Probably should have thrown out a “NSFW” warning on that one. It’s a truly graphic video.

You might be saying, “Oh, come on. Just because someone named OurStateCSU tweets a video doesn’t mean a real controversy is brewing.” But, oh, it is.

The video itself had been viewed more than 3 million times by Monday morning. The New York Post picked it up and ran with it quickly after the game, and also included a video of one of the officials seemingly chumming it up with the Patriots after a touchdown.

(In actuality, the official was telling Patriots tackle Cameron Fleming to relax after the officials didn’t call a penalty for Myles Jack’s late tackle and helmet slap on James White in the end zone.)

The Daily Mail ran a story on it, going with a perfect Daily Mail headline of, “NFL conspiracy theorists claim footage of an official congratulating Tom Brady after comeback victory proves the Patriots are unfairly favored by refs (after New England were only called for ONE foul all game).”

That’s quite the mouthful. Apparently, SEO isn’t a huge deal across the pond.

Anyway, there was no conspiracy at play. You might remember Blakeman as the referee who decided to pick up a flag after Rob Gronkowski was blatantly interfered with on the final play of a Monday Night Football game in 2013. Blakeman congratulated Brady because referees typically have pretty cordial relationships with quarterbacks, and they communicate regularly throughout the game. Though Brady chewed out Blakeman pretty harshly after that Carolina game in 2013, the two were seen shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries before the game on Sunday.

But this is what happens when the Patriots win. We’ve seen every conspiracy fly from every angle at this point. If a referee so much as helps Brady to his feet after the quarterback takes a heavy hit, a video ends up getting thousands of retweets. Many people were up in arms after last year’s Super Bowl, claiming that somewhere there was clear visual evidence that James White didn’t cross the goal line on the game-winning touchdown in overtime. I once saw someone who apparently had never seen a football game before post a video clamoring about conspiracy when Brady signaled to the official to reset the play clock and — believe it or not — the official reset the play clock. This happens in every football game, but it only gets spotlighted when it’s Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots are involved.

And that’s without even getting into the utter nonsense shared by actual journalists about secret TV screens and illicit ball deflation schemes and Belichick surreptitiously obtaining flight manifests of opponents, or journalists who publish “well-founded whispers” from members of teams that lost to the Patriots. And it’s without getting into opposing players and coaches getting spooked by the boogeyman and insinuating that the Patriots mess with headsets and bug locker rooms and dive through dumpsters to obtain secret information and keep opponents’ beverages at a warm temperature.

As you can see, it gets a bit out of hand.

But that is what happens when a team wins as much as the Patriots do. It is not a coincidence; Brady and Belichick are just better at their jobs than all of their contemporaries. People struggle to accept it. Sometimes you want to go all Antoine Dodson on them, but it’s best to just accept it as a reality of life. It happens. Life moves on. And so do the Patriots. To the Super Bowl.

We all look forward to seeing what conspiracy theories will generate from spooked fans on Super Sunday.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

Comments (5)
  1. Greg Polakow says:

    So much whining. And why? Because so many people just are incapable of admitting the Patriots are that good. Those calls by the refs were right on the money. I didn’t see one case were Jacksonville protested.

    1. It’s not the calls that people have an issue with, but the non-calls that the refs let slip by. Like the holding call that should have been called on a Pat defender on one of their TDs (a hold which allowed them to make their TD, uninhibited), or at least one no-call on a deep pass that should have been call, because the CB had his hand on the WR’s arm when he was trying to make the pass.
      Also, Jacksonville players protested plenty. It was the coach that didn’t seem to protest.
      I understand the compulsion to ignore the facts, given that this is your team, but there’s an abundance of evidence that says there’s, at the very least, an unwillingness to call penalties on the Patriots.

    2. Jeff Thorsen says:

      The PI call was horrible and set up the TD in the first half. The whistle to blow the play dead when Myles Jack was running free for a TD puts the game out of reach at 27-10 with 9 minutes to go. Its an absolute joke what the refs do to protect the Pats. They are good but come on!!! If the refs call a fair game, Jags are in the super bowl. Period!!

  2. Jack Coakley says:

    Phillip there should be a million dollar fine for the hit on Gronkowski and the dance around him as he lay on the ground with a concussion. It’s utter nonsense spy gate and deflate gate are both things all NFL teams have done. If Tom Brady beat Gisele with that phone and was on the Cowboys we would still have had a draft pick and a million dollars.

  3. Tony Johnson says:

    “For the win”? The ref was congratulating him for a TD earlier in the game you Patriot nut hugger.

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