Chiefs' Dee Ford opens up on “heartbreaking” penalty that put Patriots in Super Bowl


The Kansas City Chiefs had the New England Patriots beaten in the AFC Championship Game in January.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw an interception that appeared to seal Kansas City's victory and end the franchise's almost five-decade Super Bowl appearance drought. But then, in seconds, the Patriots were given new life when Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford was penalized for lining up in the neutral zone. New England capitalized on the opportunity and eventually won in overtime at Arrowhead Stadium. 

Ford, in a recent interview with Bleacher Report's Dan Pompei, opened up about the penalty that helped Brady and the Patriots reach Super Bowl LIII.

"I couldn't believe it," Ford told Pompei. "It was heartbreaking. In games like that, it's going to come down to five or six critical plays. That was one of those critical plays, and it don't feel good. … I feel like I let the team down."

Ford added: "When you are looking at it from the angle I was, you can't really tell where your head is sometimes. I was deliberately looking in at the ball. I'm sort of cocked. Sometimes you can misjudge exactly where the ball is. If I had backed up an inch or two, they probably never would have called it."

Football really is a game of inches, and in this case, just a few inches were the difference in the Chiefs not going to the Super Bowl. The Patriots ultimately went to Atlanta to play the NFC champion Los Angeles Rams and beat them 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII for the team's sixth championship.

Ford admitted to Pompei that Super Bowl LIII "was hard to watch at first." It's hard to blame him. The Chiefs were the best team in the AFC all season. They had homefield advantage and the league's highest-scoring offense, a group led by young quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who later won the NFL MVP award.

The Chiefs should be among the top contenders in the AFC again next season. Their defense has to play a lot better, however, and that begins with making smart plays and not taking costly penalties. Giving a player like Brady a second chance is just asking for trouble, and Ford learned that the hard way in January.

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