Tom Brady was screaming at the top of his lungs. He held up the index finger on one hand as he made a peace sign with the other to convey his message. The gestures seemed completely unnecessary because he was yelling loud enough that it looked like he might strain a muscle in his neck.
The Saints defense had 12 players on the field. Brady was sure of it.
What had the Patriots quarterback all riled up was that he didn't see any flags on the field. And given the fact that he had just thrown one of the ugliest interceptions of his career, he was ready to explain himself -- and at a ridiculous decibel level -- to anyone who disagreed.
PATRIOTS 36, SAINTS 20
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Brady twice had to lobby with head official Craig Wrolstad’s crew, and both interactions were successful. He probably didn't do anything for his reputation in the eyes of those who look at him as a pampered quarterback who complains for calls, but that's fine with him.
"I snapped it, and I was looking right at him as I snapped it," Brady said of Saints linebacker Manti Te'o, who was eventually called for a too-many-men penalty after Brady's protest.
"He was probably three or four yards from the sideline. We didn't even have a play. I was just trying to get the penalty. I didn't see a penalty on the field and I said, 'What the heck? I saw the guy!' They said they were going to review it, there was 12 on there, and we got the call."
Brady was asked if he was amused by officials coming together and making a call after he . . . lends them a helping hand.
"I wish," he said, "they would have thrown [the flag] right away to take away all of the drama."
Brady was in the ears of the officials earlier in the game, at the end of the first quarter, when flags were thrown on Brandin Cooks for offensive pass interference after a Chris Hogan touchdown to make the score 20-3.
Cooks set a pick on Chris Hogan's defender near the line of scrimmage at the 13-yard line, and the officiating crew initially ruled it to be illegal contact.
But Brady swooped in immediately. He was certain that Cooks was within one yard of the line of scrimmage. It was close, but the officials eventually sided with the future Hall of Famer.
"There is no offensive pass interference," Wrolstad said as Brady jogged toward the Patriots sideline to celebrate. "The contact in question occurred within one yard of the line of scrimmage. Therefore, it is a touchdown."
When it was suggested to Brady after the game that he had been pretty persuasive, he smiled.
"I thought it was [legal]," Brady said of his argument. "When I looked over there, he was pretty close. Those are some judgment calls, sometimes a yard or a yard-and-a-half. They ran something on the next drive and threw a touchdown pass. [The Saints player] was like three yards down the field.
"I was like, 'If we got away with one then, they definitely got away with one.' I thought ours was legal. It was just a man-coverage play. Everyone has them and the officials call them differently. But I thought we made a good play, and it was a big touchdown."
And a big reversal, thanks in part to the quarterback who doubled as a litigator on Sunday afternoon.