SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – John Madden said officials should not have picked up the pass interference flag at the end of the Panthers-Patriots game Monday night, giving Carolina a 24-20 victory.

“It was a penalty, and that part was right, and they should have stayed with it,” Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew.

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With no time left, officials ruled the pass from Patriots QB Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski was not catchable, thus negating the pass interference call.

“You can’t just put your arms around a guy and tackle him on a passing play… To say that he couldn’t have gotten it, I don’t know that that should even come into play. I mean if you grab a guy and then say, ‘well, he couldn’t have gotten the ball,’ then that’s making a judgment call you shouldn’t make,” said the former coach of the Raiders.

With the penalty flag picked up, New England lost one last chance to score a touchdown to win the game. Madden said Gronkowski was too close to the ball for an official to rule it uncatchable.

“In all due respect to the officials, they don’t know how far a guy could go,” said Madden. “I don’t think that any of them have ever looked at how far a receiver can run while the ball is in the air.”

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Madden said the final play controversy overshadowed the story of Carolina’s resurgence.

“In successive weeks they beat the 49ers and then the New England Patriots,” John said.

The Panthers are 7-3, one game behind the Saints in the NFC South.

“They really played well,” said Madden.

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Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM. And catch John’s extra report at 9:15 am Mondays and Fridays on KCBS during the NFL season.
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