The Patriots’ use of offensive linemen as eligible receivers and running back Shane Vereen as an ineligible receiver has created confusion for defenses and officials in the playoffs.
That confusion led to a touchdown that shouldn’t have counted in the AFC Championship game. Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass to tackle Nate Solder during that game on a play that NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino should have been flagged as an illegal substitution.
“There was an issue on that play where on the previous play, [Cameron] Fleming had reported as an eligible player,” Blandino said, via CSNNE.com. “And on the Solder touchdown he went back to playing an ineligible position. That’s illegal. That’s an illegal substitution. So that’s something we discussed with the crew. Bill [Belichick] was made aware of it. So we’re going to be looking for that, make sure we follow the proper mechanics so that doesn’t happen again.”
Jim Miller of Sirius XM NFL Radio picked up on the missed call last week and pointed it out, but there was no confirmation from the league until Blandino’s press conference on Thursday. Plenty of other people probably would have picked up on it as well had the score not been 45-7 and another issue having to do with the air pressure of footballs not taken hold of the United States for the last two weeks.