New England Patriots Bill Belichick made national headlines earlier this week, when following his team’s heated 27-17 loss against the Indianapolis Colts, he questioned why Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton wasn’t properly ejected for making contact with an official following a late game scrum between Michael Pittman Jr. and Kyle Dugger.
However, after further film review, it turns out that Belichick may have been ‘crying wolf’ and making much ado about relatively nothing (via footballzebras):
The NFL declined to comment on the nonejection for TY Hilton. However, an officiating source shared the unaired video that the replay center reviewed. It appears umpire Tra Blake's feet got tangled in the pile and may have grabbed Hilton's arm as he fell backwards https://t.co/qStFAg4ehl pic.twitter.com/vgNm59Kya1— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs (@footballzebras) December 21, 2021
It was potentially a pivotal non-call because with Pittman already shockingly ejected, the Colts could’ve been without two of their top three wideouts—had Hilton been ejected too.
Even without the official tripping and grabbing Hilton’s arm to help brace his fall, one has to look within the spirit of this intended rule too. It’s designed so that players don’t make physical contact with officials (presumably as an attempt to deter threatening or bullying behavior toward officials on the field by players).
However, Hilton isn’t even aware of the official’s presence by him, as he’s just trying to clear out the pile to help his teammate Pittman Jr., who’s trapped at its bottom.
It’s also somewhat ironic that out of all of the NFL head coaches to suddenly ‘be a stickler’ for the rules here, it’s Belichick.
The same head coach who found himself firmly in the captain’s chair for past national NFL rule controversies such as Spy-Gate, Deflate-Gate, and whose teams thwarted defensive pass interference and illegal contact rules—forcing the league to eventually implement/enforce stricter defensive coverage penalties out of necessity.
The same coach who once tried tripping Marvin Harrison along the sideline in 2004 in a matchup between the Patriots and Colts is now all about enforcing the proper rules—pretty sure this would be some form of ‘illegal contact’ too per the NFL rulebook:
Don’t get me wrong, Bill Belichick is one of the greatest NFL head coaches of all-time, but it’s a bad look when he wants to enforce the ‘letter of the law’ here, when he’s tried escaping, bending, or blurring it so many times in the past—to his team’s own benefit.
He can’t just pick-and-choose depending on whether it helps his own self interests.