Monday, September 24, 2012

Belichick's official explanation on ref-grabbing-gate


Bill Belichick began his Monday press conference with a 738-word opening statement. 562 of those words were about the postgame "situation" that saw Belichick make physical contact with a ref as the ref was jogging of the field.

The Patriots' coach was seeking an explanation on if the Baltimore Ravens' game-winning kick over New England would be reviewed, but he was unable to get the ref's undivided attention.

Here's that chunk of his presser transcript, according to the team's website:

"I’ve been asked about the situation at the end of the game, so I’m just going to take a couple minutes to explain that and then that will be the end of it. On the final kick, after we took the timeout and rushed the kick, 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, but I saw our players waving that it was no good and I saw the officials giving the signal that it was good.

"I just wasn’t sure from where I was standing whether the ball – when it went over the crossbar, was above the upright or in-between or not in-between the uprights. By rule, if the ball isn’t over the crossbar and it’s either inside or outside of the upright, that’s reviewable. If it’s over the top of the upright, then it’s not reviewable, but 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 going to be under review or whether it wasn’t.

"So, when the game was over, I went out and I was really looking for an explanation from the officials as to whether the play was under review and I did try to get the official’s attention as he was coming off the field to ask that, but I really wasn’t able to do that.

"I’ve coached in this league a long time and never been penalized, never had any incidents with officials or anything like that. I have never meant any disrespect or in any way tried to abuse or be disrespectful to the officials and the job that they do. I was just trying to get an explanation for obviously an important call, play, in that game. That’s the number one thing between coaches and officials; it’s always at the forefront. It’s just communication of what’s going on, what’s happening.

"As many of you know, I’ve been involved in a game like this before. In 2000, here in Foxborough, Johnny Grier was the referee when Drew [Bledsoe] was trying to throw a pass at the end of the game against Miami and the ball was ruled a fumble. The clock ran out, the game was over and then as I was walking off the field with Johnny, at that time I talked to him about, ‘This seems like an incomplete pass, there should be more time on the clock, we should have another play here. [He responded] ‘No, that’s the ruling. The game is over.’ We go back into the locker room, 10 minutes or so later, Johnny comes back and says they’re reviewing the play, we may have to go back out and finish the game. About five minutes after that, when the players got dressed, we came back out for a final play in that game.

"I’ve been through a situation in the final play of the game where it’s over, but it’s not over, that type of thing. That was really the situation last night. So, I was trying to get the official’s attention to get an explanation on it and in no way was I trying to do anything other than that. I have nothing further to add about that situation, but that’s what happened."

So that's that. We'll see what the NFL thinks in the coming days.

Follow Nick @NickStDenis
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily