Everyone’s favorite Napoleon complex-stricken NFL coach, Bill Belichick, was at it again on Sunday night as his mounting frustration toward the NFL replacement officials finally boiled over in a pathetic post-game display of misguided anger.
In a heated battle that was chippy from the opening whistle, the Patriots found themselves winning by two scores for most of the 4th quarter, only to watch the game slip away in the waning moments.
A grieving Torrey Smith, whose younger brother passed away less than 24-hours before kickoff in a motorcycle accident, caught his 2nd touchdown pass of the night when Joe Flacco connected with him from five yards out with just four minutes remaining. Justin Tucker made the PAT, bringing the Ravens to within two points at 30-28.
The Patriots got the ball back and tried moving the chains while killing some clock, but ended up having to punt with 2 minutes left. Toss in a little help from the replacement officials, and that’s all Joe Flacco & Co. needed to send Belichick into a tilt-frenzy unrivaled by even a whiskey-ed up, bipolar high stakes poker player.
The Ravens quickly took the ball into Patriots territory, reaching the edge of Justin Tucker’s range at the New England 34 with under a minute remaining. Baltimore then opted to take a shot deep to Jacoby Jones that fell incomplete, but the officials flagged New England corner Devin McCourty for pass interference, a 27-yard penalty that moved the Ravens from what would would’ve been about a 52-yard field goal attempt to what became a chip shot.
Belichick wasn’t too incredibly pleased with the call, to say the least, but the Best of Bill: 2012-2013 Edition was still to come. Flacco took a knee so the field goal attempt would be the final play of the game, and of course Belichick channeled his inner-Joe Philbin by calling a timeout right before the ball was snapped to try to ice Tucker on his 27-yard attempt.
Finally, in what some would consider a controversial ending, Tucker struck the ball very flat and it sailed directly over the upright. The officials signaled that the kick was good, giving the Ravens a 31-30 victory. Near-bedlam ensued as Patriots players gave the refs a tongue-lashing that would make Gordon Ramsay shudder.
But Belichick was not to be outdone by his players. No sir. Not on this night. As the referees were trying to leave the field, Belichick ran up behind one of the officials & forcefully grabbed his arm while yelling what could only be expletives in his ear.
Clearly shocked, the referee glanced back at Belichick in utter disbelief and ripped his arm free from Satan’s clench, then continued running off the field like nothing happened. Bravo, referee, bravo.
Since Belichick didn’t punch or push an official, there’s no need to consider this an assault or anything too incredibly drastic. But there is absolutely no place in the game for this type of thing. Sprinting across the field and forcefully grabbing a ref’s arm is clearly “douche baggery” at its finest, and Roger Goodell will most certainly be fining Belichick a nice chunk of his next paycheck.
One final note: Despite a rough night in which the crew did miss a few calls, the replacement officials got the field goal call correct. Per the NFL rule book, if any part of the ball touches the invisible upward extension of the uprights on a field goal attempt, it is considered good.
Hope you’re proud of yourself, Bill.