PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 29: Brett Kern #13 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter in the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 29, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
What’s an NFC Championship Game without a little controversy. In the second quarter of Sunday’s game, Eagles punter Brett Kern seemingly shanked a kick that gave the 49ers great starting field position. Hurdle Step
Kern and his teammates were adamant that the punt hit the wire holding up FOX’s SkyCam. There are rules in place in the event something like a camera wire — or that obnoxious video board in Dallas — gets in the way of action on the field.
In order for those rules to take affect, officials need to see evidence that interference occurred. The crew in Philly took a look, but apparently didn’t see anything to suggest a foreign object interfered in the field of play.
Brett Kern 34-yd punt + Zech McPhearson illegal use of hands puts the ball at midfield#49ers 0 #Eagles 7 1sᴛ pic.twitter.com/MrxprJIrpz
— Sᴘᴏʀᴛs 24/7 (@Sports_24x7_) January 29, 2023
It sure seemed like Kern’s punt hit the SkyCam wire, based on his reaction and the reaction of his fellow teammates.
Punters own when they shank a kick, and it’s not often that they try to instantly find excuses as to why things went so badly. If that were the case, every punter would blame a wire for every bad kick they had. The fact that Kern went right to blaming the wire is extremely notable and very telling.
NFL officials on the field or back at league office’s in New York couldn’t find a good angle, though. Twitter sleuths — specifically Eagles fans — had an alternate opinion.
There were two types of fans on Twitter after #WireGate: Eagles fans sleuthing for evidence the team was screwed and fans getting jokes off about how bizarre the situation was.
Having the SkyCam follow Brett Kern after the ball (maybe) hit the wire is evil 😂 pic.twitter.com/7TNUdSVvjk
The #Eagles after that punt 👀#WireGatepic.twitter.com/sgJxpCYykh
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) January 29, 2023
Brett Kern literally looking like this: pic.twitter.com/t1yGbF27r3
— Chuck McLaughlin (@ChuckPac) January 29, 2023
I actually think you can see the ball change its trajectory. pic.twitter.com/tMsB8oyiOa
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) January 29, 2023
FOX refusing to show the Skycam angle when the ball hit the wire pic.twitter.com/BPTIxwoaFv
The eagles sideline after trying to claim the ball hit the wire when the punter just shanked it pic.twitter.com/RBC5tl1zTS
The game was already start to plateau for the Eagles before WireGate, and the next drive for the 49ers didn’t end up doing any damage. But the subsequent events before halftime were decidedly not great for the Eagles; the team almost gave up a safety, the offense went stagnant, and Christian McCaffrey ripped up the defense two drives later resulting in a touchdown.
It wasn’t the wire’s fault all of that happened, but in games as big as the NFC Championship Game, weird things add up in bad ways real fast.
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