Some think the lack of penalties called on the Patriots in the AFC title game traces to something underhanded. Patriots coach Bill Belichick believes there’s a more legitimate explanation for it.
Asked by reporters during a Tuesday conference call whether a drop in penalties from 18 over a two-game stretch to a total of 13 in five full games can be traced to improved technique, Belichick agreed, sort of.
“Well, hopefully that’s what it is, yeah,” Belichick said. “We emphasize that all the time. We always try to work to eliminate penalties. Sometimes those things happen but, as you said, a lot of those penalties are caused by bad technique or just lack of concentration or sloppy football. We certainly are always trying to stamp those out.”
The notion that referees would call fewer penalties against the Patriots in order to help them get back to another Super Bowl makes for an intriguing conspiracy theory, but it’s hardly the reality. The league office, if anything, would have a bias against the Patriots — due either to the same skewed thinking that fueled #DeflateGate or the desire dating back to the days of Pete Rozelle to have more than one franchise rule the roost.
The far better explanation is that good coaching leads to fewer penalties, and that as the Patriots close in on a record-tying six Lombardi Trophies, they’re tightening things up, considerably.