A Carolina Panthers team without Christian McCaffrey or Baker Mayfield easily defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
But that wasn’t the main story that emerged from the outing.
Rather, what fans watching the game at home couldn’t stop talking about was what occurred after the game.
Specifically, an NFL referee waiting around and then chasing down a Bucs star for what appeared to be an autograph.
I didn’t know refs get autographs after the game. pic.twitter.com/4IgUHIiAgz
— Sheena Quick (@Sheena_Marie3) October 23, 2022
Reactions to the moment came in fast and furious:
What? That is odd.
— Brian (@brianssportssh1) October 23, 2022
— Big M1k3 (@BigM1keL1ftz) October 23, 2022
this video bout to blow up
— Dwayne Johnson Passion Project (@AvoidTIMtation) October 23, 2022
— LIBRA’S GROOVE (@KPrincess2905) October 23, 2022
— Jill Wiley. MLSC18. 21WSCs. 21NCAA. 21/22-SERIEA (@skwjeb2016) October 24, 2022
This is wild. https://t.co/TiWi5XTTCH
— MIA Sports House (@Sports_OT_House) October 24, 2022
As noted, this whole thing would have been far more egregious had Tampa Bay been able to keep the outing even somewhat competitive.
But even still – it’s an awkward look for all parties involved.
Mind you, we are less than a week removed from one extremely suspicious sequence involving a referee during a game going viral. Now this.
NFL officials aren’t exactly the most trusted arbitrators of what’s what out there at the moment. And seeing one wait around after the game for a star’s autograph won’t do much to change that.
Obviously nobody knows the reality of what really happened int his clip. Maybe there is a good explanation. Maybe something deeper than what it looks like is happening beneath the surface.
Taking it on face value, though – this is super bizarre. Not necessarily as weird as when Alabama fans noticed a referee cheering against them last week, but still pretty odd.
Kate Upton’s outfit stole the show after the Astros humiliated the Yankees (again). https://t.co/wwl7JqDUXl
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 24, 2022
Will the league come out and address this situation one way or the other?
Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.