Belichick Says He Didn’t Mean to Disrespect Official by Grabbing Him

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on Monday 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 Baltimore 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 several Patriots — including Vince Wilfork — were pleading with officials 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 said in a statement at the beginning of his Monday news conference. “But I saw players waiving that it was no good, then I saw the officials giving the signal that it 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 in between or not in 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’s reviewable. If it’s over the crossbar, over the top 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 going 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 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.”

Ray Anderson, the NFL executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement that the league is reviewing the incident as well as the conduct of Ravens coach John Harbaugh.


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