The NFL has admitted that Patriots coach Bill Belichick was right and the officials on the field were wrong about the Jets breaking the rule against pushing a teammate into the line while trying to block a field goal.
Belichick complained after his own team was flagged for breaking the field goal push rule last week against the Jets that the Jets had violated the same rule and hadn’t been flagged for it. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the league confirmed that Belichick was right when it distributed a video to all the NFL coaches, showing the Jets’ Quinton Coples pushing a teammate into the line on a Patriots field goal. On that video it was explained that Coples should have been flagged on the play.
So why were the Patriots flagged and the Jets weren’t? It’s likely a simple matter of New England’s Chris Jones executing a blatant push right in front of umpire Tony Michalek, while Coples pulled off his push more subtly, and in the middle of a mass of linemen where Michalek didn’t have a good view of it.
Of course, that’s not much solace to the Patriots: An official saying “I didn’t see it” after the fact doesn’t erase the fact that the penalty wasn’t called against the Jets at a time when the Patriots might have used the 15 yards and automatic first down to score a touchdown and win the game in regulation, and then the penalty was called against the Patriots at a time when the Jets used the 15 yards and automatic first down to score the game-winning field goal in overtime.