Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was far from happy after the New England Patriots caught the Ravens with their eligible/ineligible receiver deception in Saturday’s 35-31 playoff defeat.
However, Harbaugh now says the ire reflected in his postgame comments wasn’t directed at the Patriots cleverly devised offensive scheme, but instead was with the mechanics of how the officials tried to relay what New England was attempting to do in regards to who was eligible and who wasn’t.
“My thoughts are the same as they were during the game and after the game,” Harbaugh said Tuesday via the Boston Globe. “It was about the mechanics of the officiating. I never had an issue with the formation, never even brought that up. It wasn’t about the formation at all. I had a chance to talk to [referee] Bill Vinovich during the game, and he addressed it. He said that was right.”
“There’s a certain timing that goes with that, in terms of the referee getting back in position to referee the game. The ball was being snapped so quickly that he didn’t have a chance to do that. Plus, the other interesting thing is the signal for an eligible receiver and an ineligible receiver is the same, so it’s a little difficult to determine what the official is actually signaling in the heat of battle when it’s done that quickly. Bill was great about it, he said he would slow it down. I think he went over and told their sideline the same time, and we didn’t see it after that.”
Harbaugh apparently just wanted a clearer declaration from the officiating crew what the Patriots were doing from a personnel standpoint and the ability to matchup with substitutions. Harbaugh went on to say he believes the situation was well-handled and he had spoken with the league about the mechanics of the situation.
He also said he didn’t believe those plays affected the outcome of the game.