Other than the Fail Mary, the most iconic image from the debacle that was the NFL’s use of replacement officials was Patriots coach Bill Belichick grabbing an official following a loss to the Ravens. Belichick was upset because he thought the Ravens’ game-winning field goal had actually gone over and just outside the upright.
Now Belichick is proposing a rule that would eliminate such confusion in the future.
At next week’s league meeting, the Patriots will propose a rule to extend the uprights five feet higher. The hope is that with higher uprights, field goals won’t go directly above the upright, and officials will have a clearer view of whether a field goal is good or no good.
Current rules say “Vertical posts extend at least 30 feet above the crossbar” and “The actual goal is the plane extending indefinitely above the crossbar and between the outer edges of the posts.” But the Patriots believe it’s too hard for the officials to tell if the ball was inside the outer edge of the post if the ball is higher than 30 feet above the crossbar. So the Patriots want the rule to be 35 feet.
It’s hard to see any reason not to pass this rule. The NFL would have to spend a little money to extend the uprights, but if that means a game-deciding field goal is called correctly, it’s well worth it.