Belichick reminds his players to recover loose footballs

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The bad-rule-applied-correctly on Sunday created a screwy outcome for one reason and one reason only: Nobody bothered to pick up the ball that ended up on the ground loose after what turned out to be a catch and a fumble by Bears receiver Anthony Miller.

Most if not all players are coached to do otherwise. Patriots coach Bill Belichick again coached his players to do it on Monday, consistent with the practice characterized by former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison at halftime of Sunday’s game.

“We hit it again today,” Belichick told reporters on Monday. “As Rodney said, we’ve been through it a thousand times but we went through some of those things again today just to make sure everybody understands what we want to do and how important it is to do the right thing in situations like that or other game-type situations. Again, there are so many close plays in all these games — fumble, no fumble, score, no score, catch, no catch, did it cross the goal line, did it not cross the goal line. It seemed like there were a dozen of those kind of plays just in this weekend so every inch, every little thing is so important. We’ve emphasized it before and we’ll continue to do that.”

And that’s one of the reasons why Belichick and the Patriots have five Super Bowl wins, and why they’ve been getting ready for a game in the round of eight every January for the last nine.

20 responses to “Belichick reminds his players to recover loose footballs

  1. Considering what’s usually at stake, it is kind of mind-blowing that it would be necessary, esp. on this level. Now remind players to get up and run after hitting the ground after a catch.

  2. As the play was unfolding I told my companion a Belichick coached team would have picked up that football! Just like Rodney said during the half time show, and I’m sure , just like most New England Patriot fans were saying during the play!

  3. Not saying I want him back because I love what Nagy has done, but this was a staple of a team coached by Lovie Smith. I think they even had an instance in the 2013 week 17 game vs Green Bay for the division title where something similar happened. I don’t remember the exact scenario but I think someone forced a GB fumble and they just stood around and a Packer picked up the ball and ran it for a TD. Eery that it’s happened in the two biggest games since Lovie was fired

  4. With Belichick it stems in part from a 2002 game against the Packers where a screen pass to Kevin Faulk was dropped in the backfield, it was ruled (correctly) as a lateral, an astute Packers defender picked up the ball and ran it in for a touchdown where Faulk simply thought it was an incomplete pass and had walked away from the dropped ball.

  5. That whistle-blowing official between the players and the ball was enough to stop anybody from recovering it. If that dude hadn’t been in the way, I think somebody would’ve recovered it just in case.

  6. Amazed that no one (!) went for the ball on that play. Everyone just stood around. A ball was pulled loose from someone before they were down! Should have been a mad rush to it, whistle or no whistle. Seems like that happens on so many other plays, but not a potential turnover near the end zone in a playoff game? Crazy.

  7. Maybe the official shouldn’t be the first one to pick up the ball in that situation. If the rule states that it’s a catch if someone recovers it, the official should get away from the ball and wait for someone to come get it.

    Another point, though, is when did the whistle blow on that play? It was originally ruled incomplete, so I assume the whistle blew right away. The play is dead after the whistle, so what would it matter if someone “recovers” the ball?

  8. Remind guys not to get tackled by an outstretched slap on the bicep when nothing but paydirt is ahead of you (Jordan Howard, I’m looking at you).

  9. So, if a player is running down the sideline. The ref blows his whistle and stops the play thinking the runner stepped out of bounds.
    Everyone stops and even though the ref is wrong the play is dead there due to an ‘inadvertent whistle.’ Nothing after the whistle matters.
    A WR catches a pass and it is jarred loose and the ref blows the play dead thinking the pass is incomplete. The WR did catch it. Why isn’t this viewed as an inadvertent whistle? Reviewed or not the ref called a play dead that should not have been. Shouldn’t they both go back to the point where the ref erroneously called the play dead?

  10. I’d be willing to bet that no whistle ever happened on that catch/fumble deal. It didn’t seem like the refs have ever gotten a directive for those instances because other times I’ve seen plays like this the refs just stand there and eventually stroll over and pick up the (what I believe to be an orphaned)ball.

  11. Every Pop Warner coach tells his players to recover loose footballs. I guess they better tell them to recover them even after the whistle blows. Could you imagine a player trying to jump on the ball as the ref was blowing his whistle and picking up the ball? He probably would have been flagged for a 15 yard, game costing penalty.

  12. The ref had blown his whistle and signaled an incomplete pass. What if each team gone after the ball and fought hard for it after hearing the whistle? Could the ref had thrown flags on them for playing after the whistle? I’ve seen that flagged before.

  13. Half the time a defender gets a ball on a turnover they run into the end zone even when it’s obvious they were down / tackled.

    You’d think going after a loose ball would elicit the same type of energy.

  14. johnodocks says:
    January 7, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks for answering my question…..

    Had the whistle been blown to call the play dead?

    I saw the play on TV, but the sound was muted.

  15. Nothing wrong with the rule as is. To change the ruling you need 3 things – a catch, a fumble and a clear recovery. If the offensive team only has two of these why should they get a gift of the third from the officials ? If neither team bothers, or is able, to recover the ball then to change the call on the field involves creating a fictional recovery. The zebras are bad enough calling what is in front of them. Please don’t let them legitimately start making up stuff that just didn’t happen.

  16. But the Eagles D had no problem running to the endzone for the ridiculous staged photos (that everyone is doing so they are now old news) on the Maddox INT….that was ruled incomplete

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