article contributes to confusion regarding rule that burned Pats


The Patriots lost to the Jets on Sunday as a direct result of the application of a new rule prohibiting the pushing of defensive players during field goal attempts by other defensive players.  The rule was properly applied, but that hasn’t stopped some Pats fans from insisting that the team was screwed.

It started when coach Bill Belichick explained after the game that the push didn’t come from the second level.  But the rule, as we explained it, doesn’t restrict the prohibited conduct to pushes from the second level.

The problem is that the NFL previously has explained the new rule on its official website by suggesting that the rule applies only to pushes from the second level.  As explained by Tom Curran of CSN New England, a September 2013 story posted on specifically refers to the second level when explaining the rule.  In a video accompanying the story, V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino likewise refers to the “second level” when explaining the rule.

Giving Pats fans some raw beef for their burgeoning conspiracy theory is the fact that, per Curran, the article on was changed earlier tonight.

Some are suggesting that the rule itself was changed after the game, but that’s definitely not the case.  The hard copy of the rule book that we’ve been using all year in the NBC viewing room contains the new rule, and it makes no reference to the “second level.”

And here’s where I need to disagree with my good friend and colleague from CSNNE.  Curran explains that Belichick got the idea that the rule only applied to the “second level” because of the item posted at  I have a hard time buying the notion that Belichick would rely on an interpretation posted at in September 2013, given that the rule was passed in March and codified in the rule book before the start of the preseason in August.

Besides, and as we reported earlier tonight that, when officials met with teams in the preseason, they explained that the new rule applies to all defensive players on a field-goal try, regardless of level.

If Belichick were to claim that he was given incorrect information when NFL officials visited the team before the season, that would get our attention.  Even then, the rule says what it says, and Belichick seems to be sufficiently meticulous to have noticed that the plain language of the rulebook didn’t mesh with the suggestion that the push must come from the “second level.”

UPDATE 10:47 p.m. ET:  In fairness to our pal Tom Curran, he wasn’t really suggesting that Belichick was surfing for rule interpretations.  Tom’s point is that Belichick’s reliance on the “second level” came from somewhere.  If the league was referring on its official website to the “second level,” the league is the most obvious culprit.

71 responses to “ article contributes to confusion regarding rule that burned Pats

  1. Their loss wasn’t in direct result of the PENALTY. The Jets defense locked them down basically for the 2nd half. The penalty came as a mercy shot to a wounded animal. The better team and coach won. How’s Kleenex stock doing?

  2. petehemlock says: Oct 20, 2013 10:29 PM

    Their loss wasn’t in direct result of the PENALTY. The Jets defense locked them down basically for the 2nd half. The penalty came as a mercy shot to a wounded animal. The better team and coach won. How’s Kleenex stock doing?

    And the Jets were really moving the ball in the 4th quarter. What game were you watching?

    The “better” coach was about to give up the ball at midfield in OT had it not been for the unusual call.

  3. I wish PFT spent this much time on Nate Solder holding Junior Galette on Tom Brady’s miraculous comeback play as y’all have on this nonsense.

    Pats lost. Karma.

  4. Belicheat can shove it. Never says jack to the media, then whines like a baby when for once a call doesn’t go his way.

    Its on the books, deal with it like everyone else had to deal with your ridiculous tuck rule.

  5. You can’t tell me with a straight face that a player has not assisted a teammate at the LOS on the thousands of FGs and PATs this season but this was the first flag?! Give me a break.

  6. LOL at the Pats and their fans complaing about officaiting costing them a game after they were gifted last week’s game by numerous ridiculous calls.

  7. One thing not being mentioned is the Pats may have lost irregardless of getting an unfavorable penalty at that time, it wasn’t like if the Jets don’t make it the Pats win.

  8. I honestly feel bad for the Patriots. An obscure rule was enforced at the detriment to the Pats. I’m sure they wished all those obscure rules were never enforced.

  9. The only confusing part is that the call went against the Patriots… Tuck Rule / Brady Rule.

  10. I do wish that PFT had also showed the holding on the Pats TD against the saints, during Tom Brady’s (3rd attempt) to be clutch at the end of the game. Often times the amount of time spent on certain topics, (suh) being dirty, (steelers) hiding head injuries, (cooper) being a racist does seem a bit skewed.

  11. I don’t disagree with the penalty I just don’t like the fact its called Unsportsman Like Conduct with 15 yards and a free 1st down. That’s not cool it should be 5 yards illegal formation. So many people bringing up the tuck rule cry babies.

  12. Funny how when this happened to the Chargers in week 1…it was back page news. But boy…when it happens to Tommy and the Pats…IT’S IN BOLD AND CAPS AND THE TOP STORY ON EVERYONE’S WEBSITE.

  13. All I have to say to the Pats is better luck next week. And Geno Smith may not have been pretty, but he got the win and that’s all that matters. Belichick didn’t get my attention either. But Rex Ryan did. Good job Coach. And nice presser.

  14. Okay, so I hate both these team and couldn’t care less who won…..but if you actually watch the replay, the dude who got the penalty had NO ONE on the offensive line to push besides his own guy by plan or otherwise….was he supposed to just stand there and not move then??? stupid rule….plain and simple

  15. Whether they got screwed or not, all Patriots just remember, you guys cheated your way to 3 titles. 0-2 in Super Bowl since caught cheating so be glad 3 trophies were not stripped. So no one but Pat fans cares. Rule was applied correctly anyways.

  16. I agree with the person who said the comment sections has become a cesspool. I think that’s because this site has become an opinion blog

  17. I hate both teams, i just think its funny after the tuck rule, patriot fans were spelling out the rulebook saying “they followed the rule. Its a rule, get over it. Correct call was made.” Now, when people are saying the same thing, patriot fans think they got screwed.

  18. I think the Pats fans gotta stop whining about this and let it go, but I’ll agree with them in one regard: each year it seems that the referees get more and more flag happy and as a result, are heavily impacting of a lot of games. (Duh, but I mean it’s been egregious) This is the third of six Jets games this where the officiating had a major impact, and though I don’t watch many other teams games I would assume that this holds true around the league as well. It’s come to the point where I no longer celebrate great plays, I have to scan the field looking for yellow hankies first because I have prematurely celebrated far too many times just to be bought back down to earth by some doofus in a striped shirt making a ticky-tack call. Let them play.

  19. Florio, there’s live game audio of BB SCREAMING to the official that Jones wasn’t on the second level in response to the official’s on-field call to the contrary.

    So essentially, the “right” call was made for the wrong reason in a sudden death overtime game in which 15 yards and a 1st down made ALL the difference in the world.

    Way to go, league.

  20. @petehamlock I’m not a pats fan but I think anybody would think bill Belichick is a better coach than Rex Ryan has 1 ring last time I checked belichick has 2 as defensive coordinator & 3 as head coach

  21. jordiway73 says:
    Oct 20, 2013 10:42 PM
    I don’t disagree with the penalty I just don’t like the fact its called Unsportsman Like Conduct with 15 yards and a free 1st down. That’s not cool it should be 5 yards illegal formation. So many people bringing up the tuck rule cry babies.

    I was thinking the same thing only, maybe illegal procedure, if there is such a catagory.
    It still would have given the Jets another try and from 5 yd closer, but still. Mrssed up calling it unsportsmanlike.

    Also, the rule is written wrong. It allows refs to call it when they feel like.
    The push doesnt have to be with the hands.
    Under the way this rule is written, you and I are lined up next to each other. While engaging with the players in front of us, my shoulder gets behind your shoulder. This means I am pushing you forward.
    Refs already have an impossible time calling games consistantly let alone introducing rules written as is this one.

  22. The rule was put into place for player safety. If you have withstand over 600 lbs of force pushing you as you are trying to block it can create a serious injury. Just watch the jets lineman Harrison in this case as he can barely stand up to both players pushing into him.

    Some ex players have directly attributed chronic hip injuries to blocking on FG attempts and multiple players creating unnatural force into them.

  23. Only against the Patriots would an actual violation of the rules, correctly called, be referred to as a “controversial call.” Nothing controversial about it. They committed a penalty and got flagged for it. Now they are whining that because the rules apply to them. They were also owned by the Jets in the second half and OT. THAT is why they lost.

  24. The tuck rule was a stupid rule applied correctly (I think), but that was 12 years ago and ancient history. Let it go.

    That would be like Pats fans whining about Sugar Bear Hamilton’s roughing the passer call in the ’76-77 playoffs every time the Raiders are in the news. Then again, the Raiders haven’t been relevant since 2002.

  25. Patriots’ biggest mistake was cutting Tebow. Remember when Belichick the genius was going to have Tebow run one in from the one-yard line during today’s Jets game in order to rub it in the Jets and their fans’ faces?

    Whatever happened to that plan? It seemed so well thought out during training camp.

  26. As a Pats fan, I say who cares. Our defense was horrible today and Tom Brady has been very mediocre as of late. There were many opportunities to put this game away and it didn’t happen. No one to blame but themselves

  27. Stupid rule regardless of who benefits from it…a guy pushes his own player into the scrum to move the ball forward and it gets flagged?!? Why would they write such a crappy thing and call it a rule??

  28. pats777 says: Oct 20, 2013 10:35 PM

    You can’t tell me with a straight face that a player has not assisted a teammate at the LOS on the thousands of FGs and PATs this season but this was the first flag?! Give me a break.

    thousands of FG’s AND PAT’s. LOL

  29. Remember last week when the Saints were going for it on fourth down and the Patriots jumped off sides? If the refs had made the right call, the game would have been over with a Saints win. So, New England has nothing to cry about.

  30. Wait…if someone said something in march 2013 and august 2013 and September 2013 then you’d only believe march or august? That’s just stupid. People believe what they’ve seen most recently.

  31. It wouldn’t have been called if it wasnt blatant assist. I mean, come on, ythe guy didnr even tak a step forward. Just shuffled behind his teammate and railroaded him up the gut. Its a rule because it was the replacement for leapfrogging, which is also a foul. Stop whining, and no, it doesn’t happen every game. I agree with a previous poster, and make this pont clear to every journalist… if a play doesn’t happen one way (i.e missed kicks, failed conversions, missed calls) you cannot assume that the would have continued on the same. For example, the Bills game last week. If the Bills kick the fieldgoal instead of trying for the touchdown, you can’t say we would have won. Schemes and playcalling would have been totally diffrent. Coaches micro manage everything, gameplans change on the fly depending on the score, time left and field position. It really makes everybody who talks like that sound like a complete idiot. Pats needed reality check anyways, they get love cause of TB and BB, but they are not very good right now, and the losses on Defense aren’t going to make it better. 10-6 is possible, but I wouldn’t be suprises to see them stumble to 9-7 or… gasp… 8-8. It’s possible.

  32. After missing 387 calls last week, I guess the refs felt the need to call one. Can’t keep the blindfolds on forever.

  33. The same Pats fans said to get over the tuck rule are now complaining about this.

    The ramifications of the tuck rule being called FAR outweigh anything that happened yesterday, not even close.

  34. This is just like spygate and probably a hundred things they got away with – Belichick sees what he perceives as a grey area and tries to take advantage of it until somebody stops him. If you live by the sword sometimes you die by it.

    I’m sure he’s not going to stop looking for advantages wherever he can find them.

  35. First off A rule is a Rule. Ok now that that is out of the way. I do agree that it should not be a 15 yd penalty. However this puts it on par with other safety related rules, IE leverage penalties and roughing the kicker.

    What ever your opinion is, at the end of the day it was a hard fought game on both sides. Kudos to the Patriots for stopping the rush for most of the game. Even the Pats front seven got some pressure without blitzing; an issue in the past, especially without Wilfork. So don’t feel bad, your still first in the division and are likely to stay there. If the Jets do happen to win their way into the playoffs, I hope they face off in a game like this again.

  36. Look, a football game consists of about 150 plays. Whenever a game comes down to ‘one play’, it is only because of the cumulative results of all the plays that came before it.

    The Pats did not lose the game on the ref’s call on this single play. They lost the game because they couldn’t do anything against the Jets D for more than half the game, allowing the Jets to come back from an 11 point deficit to take the lead. Then the Pats had to rally back to tie the game at the end of regulation.

    If we had taken care of business over the majority of the game, this play would never have happened. The call was righteous according to the rule even though the infraction had no impact on the outcome of the play.

    Accept the loss, learn from it, and move on. This is what the Pats will do, and this is what we fans should do to. Credit the Jets for the win, don’t blame the refs for the loss.

    …even though it hurts to say that, it’s reality so deal with it.

  37. doctorrustbelt says:
    Oct 20, 2013 10:54 PM
    It’s just another example of the patriots cheating.

    So y0u are saying that getting a penalty is cheating? everyone who holds is cheatiang? Everyone who moves before the snap is cheating? Every QB who doesn’t get the snap off in time is cheating?

  38. patriots fans/players/coaches can’t complain about this penalty because it is a penalty BUT if you say the jets won BECAUSE of the penalty then you are mistaken….

    1. Patriots scored 6 points in the second half
    2. Calvin Pace had an easy pick 6 go through his hands with 6 minutes left in the 4th that would have clinched the game for the Jets
    3. The Patriots had the ball first in OT and failed to score a touchdown. So to say that the Patriots def would have won if they got the ball back is ludacris.

    Poor patriots FINALLY DIDN’T GET A CALL!!! Quit your complaining….JETS WON…BOOOOM

  39. As a Patriots fan from back in the Plunkett/Cunningham days.. just “suck-it-up” and move on to the “Fish” next week.

    “We’re moving on to the game next week.”

  40. “Seems like the Pats lost when they let the Jets run it down their throats in OT….”

    Yes, the Jets played better than the Patriots but that doesn’t mean they should be handed a win they did not earn.

  41. @tigerlilac “a win they did not earn” LOL! I hope you arent serious. Brady sacked four times, Brady 23-45 passing bc everyone was covered, Brady picked off for an interception, hahaha your lucky you were even in the game! LOL

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