Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said he did not mean to disrespect the official whose shirt he grabbed as the official was running off the field after the Patriots’ 31-30 loss to the Ravens, saying he was trying to find out whether the game-winning field goal was under review.
Justin Tucker’s 27-yard field goal as time expired sailed just over the right upright, and one or two New England Patriots — including Vince Wilfork — were pleading with officers that the ball was actually wide of the goalpost.
“From the sideline I saw the ball go pretty close to the upright. I couldn’t obviously tell from where I was at where exactly it went,” Belichick related in a statement, “but I saw players waiving it was no good, and then I saw the officers giving the signal that this was good, and I just wasn’t sure from where I was standing whether the ball, when it went over the crossbar, was above the upright or between or not between the upright.
“So by rule, if the ball isn’t over the crossbar, and it’s either inside or outside of the upright, that is reviewable. If it’s over the crossbar, overboard of the upright rather, then it’s not reviewable. I couldn’t tell, from my angle, when the ball crossed the crossbar, where it was. So I didn’t know whether or not that play was meant to be under review or whether it wasn’t.
“So when the game was over, I went out and I was really looking or an explanation from the officials as to whether or not the play was under review. I did try and get the official’s attention as he was coming off the field to request that, but I actually wasn’t able to do that.” Basketball lines
Ray Anderson, the NFL executive vice chairman of football operations, said in an announcement that the league is reviewing the situation as well as the conduct of Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
On Sunday night, as the officials continued to stroll past Belichick without acknowledgement, Belichick grabbed the last one to get his attention. But the official did not break stride.
After the game, Belichick deferred comments about the officiating in the game and said he didn’t think he would be fined by the NFL.
“I’ve coached in this league a long time,” Belichick related. “I’ve never been penalized, never had any events with officers or anything like that. I have not meant any disregard or in any fashion tried to abuse or be discourteous to the officials and the job that they do. I was attempting to get a reason for obviously an important call/play in that game. That’s the No. 1 thing between coaches and officials; it’s always at the forefront, just communication of what’s happening and what’s happening.”
Belichick then recalled a game at Foxborough Stadium in 2000, his first year as Patriots coach, in which QB Drew Bledsoe was ruled to have fumbled as time expired in a game against the Miami Dolphins.