With the New England Patriots having secured another title with an interception just moments before to seal what was a 28-24 victory, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was attempting to simply take a knee with 20 seconds remaining at his 5-yard line.
However, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin got into a shoving match. Irvin then got pushed from behind by Patriots guard Ryan Wendell, escalating the sides' unrest.
"I was protecting a teammate, emotions flew," said Irvin, who was penalized and thrown out of the game. "I saw somebody hitMike Bennett, so I went and backed up my brother. I went about it wrong. Emotions were flying high and I apologize.
"But if it happened again, I would go protect my teammate. That's just how it is."
Soon, players from both sides were engaged. Wendell and Irvin were shoving back and forth in the back of the end zone. With the officials focused on the pile of players in the middle of the field, Irvin and Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanawanui were locked up.
Irvin threw Hoomanawanui to the ground as players were separated.
"I don't know, they just started coming at us. We were just trying to take a knee," Gronkowski said. "Just happens, it's football, just emotions going."
Asked what he thought happened on the play, Gronkowski said; "Just frustration between the two teams. It's football, things happen, it's all good. I mean, it's all good. They played ball, they're a hard-working team and we just came out and did what we did to get the win."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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