Official explains unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Tom Brady: 'He got in my face ... and used abusive language'

Tom Brady won't be playing in another Super Bowl in February, and the end of his 22nd professional season didn't arrive without frustration.

Brady was under duress frequently during Sunday's 30-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, taking three sacks and ending up on the receiving end of contact on more than a few occasions. One shot to his upper chest area delivered by Von Miller early in the second quarter left Brady with a bloody lip, and a bone to pick with the game's officials.

Brady turned toward referee Shawn Hochuli to voice his displeasure with a lack of a roughing the passer penalty after being hit by Miller, drawing a flag -- just not for the reason Brady wanted.

Brady was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for the first time in his career. Hochuli explained the flag after the game.

"He got in my face in an aggressive manner and used abusive language," Hochuli said, via the pool report. "As for the hit, we did not think that it rose to the level of roughing the passer."

Brady was knocked back a step or two, but didn't come close to falling down as a result of the contact. That didn't keep him from giving Hochuli an earful, and the referee responded in kind.

Brady has certainly been protected by adjustments to rules intended to limit contact on quarterbacks during his career, with one penalty being created to eliminate the cause of a season-ending ACL tear suffered by Brady in 2008. The NFL is well aware of the importance of quarterbacks and has reacted accordingly, but a bloody lip and minor contact to the facemask isn't going to be enough to draw a flag -- no matter how fiercely Brady states his case.

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