You’ve seen the “push rule” play that ended up costing the Patriots in a 30-27 overtime loss to the Jets. Chris Jones of the Patriots was whistled for pushing a teammate into the line on this 56-yard field goal attempt by Nick Folk in overtime. The kick missed, but the 15-yard penalty gave the Jets life. A few plays later, Folk made the game-winning 42-yard field goal. According to the NFL rulebook, linked here, refs made the correct call. Also, it had never been called before.
After the game, Bill Belichick complained that Jones was on the line of scrimmage – and not on the “the second level.” Where did he get “second level” from? According to Tom Curran of Comcast, a story on this new rule on NFL.com – written in September – contained the words “not on the line of scrimmage.”
After Belichick spoke, someone went into the story and removed the phrase “not on the line of scrimmage.” You can even see that the story was edited at 6:32 pm – a little more than an hour after Belichick spoke. If you watch the video on that last link, NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino uses the phrase “second level.”
So now, anyone with an internet connection is bellyaching that something sinister is afoot.
Much ado about nothing: An NFL.com story from September was wrong – yes, the site is run by the league, but do you think league offices monitor the site that closely? – and picked a fine time to change the explanation. The VP of officiating butchered his explanation in the video.
Boston will bitch about this for a few days until the World Series begins.
And Tom Brady will take it out on the Dolphins next week.